Creative Behaviors Blog Series – Post Four

Supporting Your Creative Student: Discourage Procrastination

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” – Frank Capra, director of It’s a Wonderful Life

While the ability to concentrate and work hard is an important creative skill, creative people also know that ideas don’t always appear on-demand. When the next step in a project isn’t obvious, it can be useful to take a break and put the work away for a period of time.

Neuroscience studies have shown that your brain is always hard at work, even when you don’t realize it. If your student hits a roadblock while working on a project, try having him take a break for a while. When he comes back to the work later, he can look at it with “fresh eyes.” The answer to the problem will sometimes be obvious. Other times, the answer to a problem may suddenly appear in an “aha!” moment, as he does chores or walks to school. This creative strategy is often referred to as insightful problem solving.

It’s most important for students to understand that they can’t rush insightful problem solving. Lots of students brag about “pulling an all-nighter,” but when a student tries to do everything at the last minute, he won’t be able to take advantage of insightful problem solving. Instead, starting an assignment early allows the student to take some breaks, which will maximize the creative process.


Claudia Bear is a Da Vinci parent, with daughters attending Da Vinci Design and the Innovation Academy. She has a background in both science and the visual arts. In addition to practicing optometry, Claudia is a department manager with Kaiser Permanente, where she manages projects, develops leadership training for managers, and serves on the medical center’s Innovation Design Team.