Here’s one of my favorite pages from Steal Like an Artist:
I think it’s good to have a lot of projects going at once so you can bounce between them. When you get sick of one project, move over to another, and when you’re sick of that one, move back to the project you’ve left. Practice productive procrastination.
My friend Clive Thompson recently wrote about his own adventures with the method in “How To Practice Productive Procrastination.”
He quotes Saul Griffith:
I gave up on trying to do exactly what I was meant to be doing in favor of always doing something. Frankly, I’m not sure we’re designed to focus on only one thing for eight or ten hours in a row. I’ve always found that it’s useful to have something else to be doing when you’re too burnt out to face the next thing on your list. That way, flipping back and forth between the two projects prevents focus fatigue.
Griffith makes sure that the side projects he’s working on are geared towards helping him learn something new. Clive explains:
The trick is to procrastinate with one of his learning projects — not by zoning out on Netflix. As [Griffith] writes: “The most important thing is to make sure your other project isn’t ‘browsing on YouTube’ or ‘catching up on Facebook.’ Make it a project that forces you to learn, because you want to.”
This is the key to the Jessica Hische quote, below. The “work” can be “comfort work,” but it should be actual work…
See also: “The Trouble With Being Lazy” + “This is how I make a book”