The Importance of Creative Procrastination
Just a thought from 22 May 2006 about , , .

Coders and designers, we're from different tribes. Name any issue and we'll neatly divide into sides: form and function, information and experience, oil and water. Of course, no good website happens without both. So it's worth noting when we find a piece of common ground on our own.

Exhibit A: Deane Barker, writing at Gadgetopia. He's firmly planted on the code side of the equation, and recently wrote a post called "Are you procrastinating? Or are you just thinking?" about the importance of procrastination.

Sometimes, the worst thing you can do is start programming right away. Sometimes the best thing you can do is think about the problem - either actively, or just by letting it simmer on the back burner of your mind for a while.

I love what he has to say, and it mirrors my experience with design and writing. The hard part is the thinking that comes first, and that thinking often happens the background.

Exhibit B: Jeff Veen writing on his eponymous dotcom. Jeff's on the design side of the equation, and wrote "Blinking Out Design" about a year ago. My favorite part is his enumeration of his six-step design process. The fourth step? Stew.

The key to this, really, is in the fourth step: stewing in it. That is, gathering as much data as possible, whether it appears to be related or not, and just letting my mind soak it in.

Two thoughts, over a year apart, from different sides of the divide, saying the same thing. Maybe it's just the Web 2.0 equivalent of "measure twice, cut once," but I think it goes deeper. What these two fine gents are saying, I think, is give yourself that loose time to be creative, or you'll never get anything done.

And, of course, I agree. In fact, the creative flow that happens in the beginning of a project is where all the real heavy lifting takes place. The rest is just details and implementation. I'd even say that the worst design work I've ever done was on those projects that were so accelerated by deadlines that I never got into the creative procrastination stage.

Important working principle or giant rationalization? Time will tell.

This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page is an individual entry called “The Importance of Creative Procrastination” that I wrote on 22 May 2006.

Before this, I wrote a little something called “WWSD? (What Would Swearengen Do?)” on 19 May 2006. After this, I wrote “Generation M” on 31 May 2006.

WWSD? (What Would Swearengen Do?)
My friends all know that I loves me some Deadwood. The award-winning HBO western is one of my favorite shows...
19 May 2006

Generation M
I'm 33. That means I'm stuck somewhere in between Generation X and Y. Generation X was stereotyped as lazy postmodernists,...
31 May 2006

The Fine Print

Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »

Join the POWlist to receive the occasional note.


Thoughts by month:

Thoughts by subject:

Search with Technorati:

Search with Google:

In Print
My CaliforniaMy California
Contributor (Story)
We DoWe Do
Contributor (Photos)
Design for CommunityDesign for Community
Author (Tech)
San Francisco StoriesSan Francisco Stories
Author (Stories)
We've Got BlogWe've Got Blog
Contributor (Essay)