How to Paralyse Procrastination (Film Log #24)
The Film Log is a weekly video I record to share my journey making my first feature film, In Five Years. In these videos, I share what I learn and discover as I go about all aspects of being a first time indie filmmaker in today’s changing landscape. Find the full Film Log series here, and subscribe to the film’s newsletter
Procrastination: the Vilain that also happens to be Your Cousin
Procrastination is a word I really try not to mention, because I feel it’s been overused.
The first time I heard it was in my last year of High School, when the administration decided to merge all the ‘losers’ in one class: understand all the students who were not studying Chinese, Latin and Greek.
All of a sudden I ended up surrounded with a bunch of Art students (English was my option) and they kept using this word: “procrastination”. I was 17 and in the last 15 years, not only this word hasn’t gone out of fashion, it has become the fashionable thing to say.
So why am I making a video that uses this exact word and writing about it on top of it?
Because whether I want it or not, procrastination is a real thing, and sometimes you need to call a cat a cat. (Is this even a saying?)
And because there is something interesting about procrastination. I believe it’s unavoidable, whatever your field of work. But what is not, is using it as a badge of honour to explain why you haven’t done anything.
I couldn’t make the Film Log this week. I just couldn’t. I had no power in me to turn the camera toward my face, plug the mic and talk. And it’s not even because I had nothing to say, some stuff happened, but after two days doing pretty much everything but my Film Log, I had to admit that I couldn’t.
The story could have stopped there. I could have not made an episode and nothing will have happened. But that would have been a missed opportunity.
Now that summer has kicked and things are definitely slowing down, I can see that I might have sometimes to publish a bi-weekly episode, but if I have something to say and I don’t because my excuse is that I procrastinate, then it’s not ok.
Here is the thing: I see procrastination as the annoying cousin you really don’t want to see, but who always comes to every single event of your life. There is nothing you candy about that part, so the only thing you can control is how you react to his presence, and what you do about it.
Turning Procrastination Upside Down
There is a way to turn procrastination upside down and paralyse its negative effect. Procrastination comes when you’re trying to reach a specific goal in your mind: “Oh I’m going to write 2,000 words, 5 pages, move forward on this painting, hit my deadline etc.”
And usually what do we do? Other stuff. And usually semi-useless stuff. (I say semi because cleaning is useful).
But what if instead, we decided to create something anyway, just not what we had intended to? This is what happened with this film log. I couldn’t do the episode I should have done, but I still did one.
Yes about procrastination. And maybe that’s easy a solution, but making it wasn’t easy, yet it felt great not to simply retreat and accept defeat in front of procrastination. And yes, maybe next time it happens I’ll do another episode about procrastination.
And it wouldn’t matter, because creativity has taught me that the most unexpected ripple effects often come from projects that didn’t have an obvious value at the beginning.
So here is the result of my kung-fu move to paralyse procrastination and yes, I’ll say it, come out victorious of this battle.