As she did so many nights, Jen put her feet up, heaved a sigh of relief, and grabbed for the remote. Pointing it at the TV, she scrolled through Netfix feeling bored and disengaged, but also exhausted.
A vague sense of guilt tickled at the back of her mind as she remembered the painting project she kept promising herself to complete. “Tomorrow,” she thought, and pulled her attention back to the screen.
As common as this scenario is---and it may be all too familiar to you, as it certainly has been to me---it doesn’t have to be this way day after day, night after night.
When procrastination becomes a habit, it often feels easier just to let it maintain its grip. And yet the discomfort of it, and of knowing that there are other more fulfilling things we’d like to do, can sometimes start to override whatever relaxation we think we're getting.
That’s the moment of opportunity. When it starts to feel more uncomfortable to lean towards comfort, we know we have a chance.
One strategy is to take that opportunity---that tiny tickle of self-disgust---and turn it into a chance to act. Not a big action! In fact, too big an action can backfire and lead to even more procrastination in the future.
But what if Jen stood up from the couch, just for a moment, went to her painting area, and pulled out some paints to use next time she wants to work? And just ... laid them there? And did nothing else?
What if, in that tiny moment of action, something was sparked in her that she began to think about the whole next day? Through breakfast, through work, through people asking her to do this or find that.
What if that minuscule little moment was enough to remind her how much she loves to paint? And what if, instead of putting her feet up that evening, she moved toward her painting instead?
There’s one way to find out: try it for yourself.
What’s one extremely small step you could take on a creative project? Could it be just cracking the door to the room where it lays gathering dust? Taking out your markers and putting them where you can see them? Moving your knitting basket closer to the couch?
Whatever your small step is, give it a try. Give yourself permission to take just that one tiny step, and see how it feels.