Productive Procrastination

While working on the LEADS iIN program for next year, I received a lot of feedback. One of Procrastination-is-justthe recurring themes was that in order to message the network well, a video should be created to share the LEADS iIN concept. Great idea, right? So, where do you start creating a message that explains the network in a way staff would like to participate? Well, not having the answer to this question, my best defense was to procrastinate. I put the idea on the back burner hoping people would either decide the video was a bad idea or maybe I would get lucky and inspiration would hit. So I waited, and waited, and a couple of weeks later … the video still had not been started.

I realize now my procrastination really was more about the fight between creating a compelling message and just getting the job done. On most days I would get to work and the idea would creep into my head and I would mull over a few ideas and think, nope… don’t want to tackle this today so tabled the topic for later.

The calendar deadline became a catalyst as we were a day or two out of needing to send a District-wide network advertisement in order to give people enough time to consider and apply to be Visionaries. Still not knowing exactly how I wanted the entire project to look and feel, I concentrated on the content by creating a storyboard. No matter which video tool would ultimately be selected, my content had to be clear and concise and under two minutes.

Once the content was created I had to find a tool that would be interesting enough for people to want to preview. I wanted the video to have professional pictures and feel creative. I looked at several options, but ultimately felt RSA-like videos are typically interesting to watch and there are many generators will allow you to preview and try out their tools for a short period of time. After looking at three different tools I chose Explee.

The results? In one three-hour block of time I took everything I had hesitating over the past several weeks and started, created, and finalized the video. My video isn’t perfect and never was meant to be. Teams are paid big bucks in production companies to craft and creatively share stories that are compelling and beautiful. When we hold ourselves to these standards we can become paralyzed and choose not to share. As leaders of change, we need to make it safe for others to strive for quality but be ok with not hitting perfection. Living by these words, I share with you my video introducing LEADS iIN:

So why call this post Productive Procrastination? Honestly it is because I couldn’t figure out WHY I wasn’t able to sit down and get started as soon as the idea was mentioned. The answer came to me via this post on Canva, “How Procrastination Can Boost Your Creativity“.

I realize now that I needed time for the video idea to simmer in my mind. I asked everyone possible about their ideas on what they would want to know regarding our new professional learning network. Through this inquiry process I was able to refine the vision of our network and articulate our goals. It took creative scheduling to cave out several hours where I could think and create without distraction. At the end of the day, I agree with Branson’s assessment:

Unfinished work is hard for your mind to let go of – in a good way. Your mind keeps churning, considering other options, creative solutions to the problem.

Once I had procrastinated and was finally ready, creating the video was a lot of fun and it went together quickly and easily. At the end of the day I’m glad that I went through the process and put myself out there to share our LEADS iIN information in different ways. Telling your story requires you to think deeply about what message you want to send. Reflecting on the process has made me better understand the true power of procrastination!

When is the last time you productively procrastinated?

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