I was speaking with a new client in the week and he said he often leaves specific projects to the last minute.
So I asked him, “When you leave something to the last minute, does it get completed?”
To which he answered YES absolutely
So I followed up with “Is the work you produce of an excellent standard or does it look rushed and unfinished?”
He replied it’s always a high standard with no errors and clients are none the wiser.
I smiled and explained, it is not that you have procrastinated over this particular task, you were incubating. And let me tell you this is very common in the wedding and creative world. It’s a term I first came across back in 2010 when reading an article in CNN. I was blown away exclaiming, that’s me!
Procrastinator = avoiding the task that needs to be completed, and when you finally start this task you are prone to rushing it, not completing or producing work that is honestly not your best. I think often it boils down to its tasks that don’t bring you joy, out of your zone of genius and probably something that should be ditched or delegated.
Incubator = you know you have to complete said task but each time you try you hit a creative block. So instead you carry on with life before coming back to said task nearer to the deadline. And when you do, it feels like a door has opened inside your head and your creative thoughts come rolling out so fast you can barely contain them. The end result is of a high standard.
Remember it’s your business, you choose the rules.
It’s also worth mentioning that some people function better with deadlines. Acknowledge this fact and instead of fighting it how can you work with it? That might mean literally locking yourself in your office until the wee hours a few days before; only you can make that decision. If you get the work done, and on time, does it matter if you blitzed it?
It can be hard to distinguish procrastinators vs incubators and you rarely see any coach or consultant talking about it. Why? Because often they want you to create a streamlined time management system. Following formulas that work for them. Whereas I believe you should instead get to the root cause and analyse if the person is even procrastinating or whether they are incubating. And if the later, trying to force creativity out of them won’t work. You have to let the magic work inside their fabulous minds.
Creative entrepreneurs are often made different and need time to grow that new idea or concept, it cannot be rushed or forced. Their subconscious mind needs space to absorb and create.Bernadette Chapman
Incubators tend to be bright, creative people with an amazing gift to work hard under pressure. As such, they can be very dependable in work situations that require last-minute changes or tight deadlines.Robert Biswas-Diener
What happens in an incubators mind?
Here is what I think about incubating and I talk from experience, so many times in the past I have left presentations till the last minute, even when writing wedding planning for dummies it was a last minute sprint. But hey I didn’t miss any deadlines!
Forcing the ideas to come, or forcing yourself to complete a certain task before you’re ready to do so will produce a mental block. Imagine a reinforced soundproof door slamming in your mind and no amount of knocking will result in the door opening. You mind find yourself getting frustrated and wondering why you can’t just start let alone finish the task in hand.
So what is actually happening behind that closed door? The way I visualise it is, lots of busy people with flip-charts and mood boards drafting out ideas, running around and creating a glossary of work. A hive of activity finding solutions to any problems or in my case writing the script for presentations.
In the meantime you go about your normal day, working on other tasks, spending time with family, going for a walk. You might think you are avoiding said task but actually your subconscious is hard at work. Its solving problems in your absence, its pulling ideas from your conscious mind to slot them in into that hive of activity.
Nearer the deadline you will feel inspired to complete said task, this time when you sit down you no longer have a creative block. Rather, words, thoughts and ideas flow out of you.
Do any of these statements sound familiar?
- You find yourself avoiding imminent projects and instead start the project just before the deadline?
- When you start the work the ideas and words flow out of you, as if the story has already written itself?
- Instead of feeling stressed as the deadline approaches you feel excited and invigorated?
- You submit / finish work on time (just won’t be early)?
- The work you produce is of an excellent standard?
If you have answered YES then there is a high chance you are an incubator not procrastinator.
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