Tick, Tick… BOOM! How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Creating
Do you also have that thing that even before you know what’s going on in your life, your subconscious brain is already playing a related song in your head?
“525,600 Minutes. How do you measure a year?”
This is what I’ve been hearing today as I had to say goodbye to someone very dear to me. It’s a song from the 1996 Broadway musical called ‘Rent’, written and composed by Jonathan Larson.
It’s actually not that strange this song comes up in my head now.
A couple of weeks ago I watched the recently released movie ‘tick, tick… BOOM!’. In the movie, we follow Jonathan Larson (played by now-Oscar-nominated Andrew Garfield) about 8 years before he released his genre-defining musical ‘Rent’.
It’s a great movie to watch if you’re a creative person or a creative entrepreneur like me. I could see many similarities by comparing the main character with myself. There are actually some solid lessons in there.
The real lesson I took out, however, is that life is short.
The Curse of Procrastination 💥
It wouldn’t be a stretch to call myself a Master Procrastinator. Yes, with the capital letters.
When I don’t have a deadline for a client or an event I need to plan for, I just… get stuck on the details. I’m what they call a ‘born perfectionist’. Before I even realise it, I’m completely redesigning a tiny logo on a presentation slide that had nothing wrong with it to begin with.
Of course, what I’m really doing in such moments is procrastinating.
It’s easy for me to have an opinion of a tiny logo, because it’s inside my comfort zone. It’s small and low-stakes enough to work on without worry or doubt.
When it comes to working on my business, however, like making sales calls or deciding on goals and strategy… well, let’s just say I can take forever. The things I typically I typically procrastinate on:
⏰ Are not within my comfort zone – creativity or design
⏰ Have higher stakes – bigger decision that influence many smaller ones
⏰ Don’t have a clear deadline, because of a client or event date
Knowing this is only the first step of course. Taking a different course of action in these moments of potential procrastination is what truly matters.
Caution: spoilers for ‘tick, tick… BOOM!’ up ahead.
Imperfect Work Always Wins 🏆
When the movie about Jonathan Larson starts, he is about to turn 30 and on the brink of finishing his musical SUPERBIA. He worked on it for about 8 years. He views it as his masterpiece and his golden ticket out of poverty… into Broadway.
When that didn’t quite turn out the way he hoped it to, Jonathan called his agent and asked her in desperation: “So what am I supposed to do now?”.
“You start writing the next one”, she said. “And after you finish that one, you start on the next. And on and on […]”.
While it may not immediately sound like it in the movie, it’s actually great advice.
We shouldn’t ever get stuck on trying to perfect one thing, because we can’t know what will work. Moreover, we’re probably not as good as we think. The more “imperfect” work we put out, the better we get.
And the more likely it is that our work will blow up, in the positive sense.
That’s part of the reason why I’m publishing these articles on a daily basis. To get better at writing and to eventually find my ‘niche’ – a combination of what I love to write about and what you, my readers, love to read about.
How About Love? ❤️
The ‘tick, tick… BOOM!’ from the movie’s title, however, doesn’t directly relate to the ‘blowing up’ of Jonathan’s work (even though it did, eventually).
It refers to time running out of our lives. Life is over sooner than most of us realise.
If the 525,600 minutes in a year wasn’t quite understandable enough for you, let’s take a look at how many weeks (waitbutwhy.com) there are in a long human life:
Not that many, right? Especially if you consider the weeks you already lived and that most of us likely won’t make it to 90. That’s why I went with the chart of ‘famous deaths’ as an example. And if you watched Jonathan Larson’s movie, you know where he fits.
In the end, it all comes down to this: whatever it is we want in life, we better get off our ass and do it now. Because we might not get another chance tomorrow.
And yes, that includes love.
Loving to create is one thing, but loving the people in your life – and being loved – is another. In the end, I believe that is what truly matters.
So create. Let the realisation of your limited number of weeks lift the curse of procrastination. But never ever let it take away from the time you spend with your loved ones.
Because just like yours, their time is limited too.