Why Procrastination Isn’t Such A Bad Habit

11 August 2015

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve always hidden procrastination in my bad habit pile. But I’ve suddenly got the urge to do something different with it. I’m going to deal with it, right now, in a positive way.

I actually get a lot done when I’m procrastinating, so it can’t be all that bad.

When the house is messy, blogs are written. When blogs are scheduled to appear on my screen, it’s amazing how many little, neglected jobs suddenly jump to the top of the queue. That’s when bills are paid and appointments are made.

I love it when someone else asks me for ideas to help with their project. My goodness, they will not stay still inside my brain! Out they flow, scrambling to be the first, the biggest, the best. I don’t have to do anything with them except hand them over. Woo-hoo!

But when I need to come up with and act on new ideas for my own work, the crickets can be deafening.

So, I file. De-cluttering the in-tray and the in-box distracts me from what I should be doing, but when I do get back to priority tasks I have a clean desk and whiteboard to welcome all those fresh ideas that will spring forth when I start doing something else.

And how about the discoveries revealed when I’m in filing-mode? Those receipts, that business card, scribbly notes from webinars, and how good I am at finding really helpful articles to consume my clients’ email time and data limits.

If I didn’t procrastinate, there’s a lot that wouldn’t budge beyond a wish.

And while I’m waiting in my own queue, my brain is clearing the small stuff to make way for the big ticket items. That’s multi-tasking efficiency, surely?

Even procoffeenating and prosauvignoning can prompt incredible ‘otherwise un-thought-of’ insights.

Sometimes procrastination can actually help to avoid wasting time (and money). How often have you said, “I knew there was going to be a reason why I didn’t get around to doing that!”?

…like writing submissions for grants schemes that are cancelled… or applying for jobs with companies that go bust… and don’t forget that special thrill you get when you pay half price for something you finally purchase after meaning to for six months.

I’m not advocating for procrastination to be listed in the desirable attributes of a role description or performance review. But it needn’t be a shameful weakness either.

Procrastination (note the prefix ‘pro’, meaning ‘in favour’) is not the thief of time at all. It’s the busy little place-holder until the deadline appears in just the right position to compel focus and engagement.

In fact, while you’re reading this instead of dealing with something you really should be doing, I’m helping you to reflect on your own habits. Self-awareness is powerful. You’re welcome.

Now, what was I supposed to be doing before I start writing this?

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