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5 Healthy Reasons to Procrastinate… and delay eating the frog

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There are enough books and articles written about why procrastionation is bad and what to do about it. But did you know that sometimes, procrastination may actually be a wiser choice? I’m sharing some good reasons below and invite the reader to give me a fifth one.


At an Effective Time Management Workshop that I facilitated, we were nearing the lunch break and the topic under discussion was Procrastination. Now as anyone who has ever facilitated or participated in a Time Management Workshop would tell you, procrastination is a known impediment to effective time management and needs to be dealt with immediately… like yesterday and we are urged to join the Procrastinators Anonymous without further delay and seek help. 

On a more serious note, yes, procrastination is an issue but it is not a terminal condition. Knowing why one procrastinates is half the battle. I prefer to analyse the reasons and triggers for procrastinating and then work out solutions rather than jumping in and putting into action every known anti-procrastination tactic in town.


How to eat a frog

It often helps to take a lighter look at life when tackling one’s problems and that is why I simply love and recommend reading Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!

This book deals with procrastination and compares tasks to frogs. Here, your frog is the task that will have the greatest impact on achieving your goals, and the task that you are most likely to procrastinate starting.


The secret to reaching higher levels of effectiveness and efficiency is to tackle your major task, the one that will impact your goals the most and which you are most likely to procrastinate starting, first thing each morning without thinking too much about it. Quite similar to closing your nose and taking that tablespoon of cod liver oil every morning for good health. (Nowadays we can just take a capsule, but that is another story).

To quote

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day
with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing
that is going to happen to you all day long!”

Another nugget of advice

“If you have to eat a live frog, it does not pay to sit and look at it for a very long time!”

But what if you have 2 important tasks in front of you? How do you decide? Well, then

“If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first!”

In other words, start with the biggest, hardest and most important task first. Apply self-discipline to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.

In the corporate world, we are paid and promoted to achieve the organizations SMART Goals. Our own goals and development plans are part of the Big Plan and we are paid to achieve these goals while trying to set our own goals. Successful professionals know how to merge the macro with the micro goals. They are efficient and effective.


When Procrastination is healthy

So a spell of silence fell upon the room when I asked “Can procrastination be healthy?’

Suspicion about my intentions was apparent but one participant found the courage to say that procrastination could be healthy if a person was tired and knew that performing a task in that state would result in mistakes or having to redo the task again thus wasting time. Bingo!

The room came alive with 4 more reasons to procrastinate with consensus that procrastination may be healthy if…..


  • Done when necessary to recover from fatigue

Some tasks require alertness and attention and may go wrong if undertaken under conditions of fatigue


  • Allows time to consider alternatives, plans, etc

Sometimes new information or issues emerge which require closer attention and deferring decisions or tasks is imperative to consider all options and strategize to ensure success of the ultimate goal


  • Allows regrouping

A better decision and course of action may emerge when one thinks it through, undertakes more research and has discussions with others who may have experience of the situation


  • Is understood to be short-term and will not affect one’s self-confidence

Literally, it has to be short-term and within an appropriate time frame. There are no brownie points for delaying actions or decisions which can turn the green on your milestone chart to red! If the delay is due to diffidence in making choices or decisions, immediately ask for support from your colleagues or immediate supervisor.

There is another reason when procrastination may actually work in your favor. Sometimes, we procrastinate, inspite of ourselves. That niggly feeling to delay action. Is it your intuition? When that happens to me, I apply the same rational approach to analyse why I am procrastinating and if it is not a life and death situaiton, wait a day to action it. Something usually happens to validate the delay in action. 

Has that ever happened to you? Do you have any valid reason to procrastinate or have procrastinated for success? Please share with us!


Additional Help to get free from Procrastination

In this blog post I shared the reasons when deferring action is a good option. But what if you are a habitual procrastinator?

That’s where Karmic Ally Coaching’s online course Freedom from Procrastination comes into the picture.

Learn more by clicking the image below


5 steps to banish procrastination


This post was originally written in September 2012 and has since been updated for new information and ideas.

Written By: Vatsala Shukla



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16 Responses to “5 Healthy Reasons to Procrastinate… and delay eating the frog”

  1. Generally am not a procrastinator, but from time to time, find myself with a non-preferred task that just never makes it to the top of the list. I have 2 such tasks I have been delaying, so I looked at all the reasons above to see what applied and if it was healthy. The only reason for my delay is energy/alertness & gathering the information. The truth is, I don’t want to do them, no one else can, they need to be done- I have to make the time and commit. Just do it.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I was listening to a webinar last night Roslyn, where the speaker mentioned that it is usually the tasks that we don’t like to do and procrastinate over that are the ones that we are actually good at. Sounds like this is the case here too. Knowing that you need to find the right level of energy and information is in itself a sign that the task has moved up your priority list. It might be worth considering if you can train or delegate others in your organization to do the legwork or the task under your supervision. Thanks for dropping by at the blog. It is always a pleasure to have you here.

  2. Heather says:

    I am an “intentional” procrastinator so I appreciate that you point out the times it is healthy. I know when my mind is not in the frame to accomplish a task through giving it my best, so just as you suggested – I regroup – in order to get there. It’s not often you see time management posts or talks that point this out. Cheers to you for seeing the forest for the trees!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you for the encouraging words, Heather. There are always different perspectives to a problem or challenge and the best way to overcome them is to see the issue for what it really is and work around it, like the way you regroup and get the work done. Quite often, when I start to find myself procrastinating about something, I analyse it the way I mentioned in the blog post and put it into my Task List with a deadline of the latest date by which I need to tick it off as done. Sometimes, giving ourselves time to do things helps too.

  3. For many people procrastination can be paralyzing, as it stops them from moving forward and taking action. I imagine if procrastination is chronic, that is when it is an issue. I agree with you, that stopping to reassess and regroup is a good thing. Also when one is tired and knows it isn’t the right time to do the task, then that makes perfect sense to me as well. I used to stress a lot about having so much to do and not knowing where to start. Now I actually have a strong inner sense of when to act and when to lay back. It seems my instincts are well honed and I am not generally one who procrastinates for too long. I remember hearing that to procrastinate is to be human. So, yes it makes sense for us all, that there are times we all would consider ourselves be procrastinators. Thanks for the great post, Vatsala!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you for sharing your insights and experience with procrastination, Beverley. Sounds like you are on top of your game when it comes to Procrastination. Awesome! 🙂

  4. Linda Pearl says:

    It’s usually a bad sign when the same task is transferred from one sheet to another to another – at that point, I need to sit back and regroup to figure out why I allow that to happen. I am a solopreneur…so there’s no one to do it if I don’t. What I find is that it’s usually ego – so I take it out and deal with it…without the ego.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I love reading about how people realize that they are procrastinating and take proactive steps to deal with the task. When a task finds its way from one task sheet to the next, I do a similar exercise but in the next sheet, I rank by priority and write down a target date by which I have to complete the task. The funny thing about the tasks that we procrastinate over are not ones that we like to do but may actually be very good at doing them. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your tip to get rid of the procrastination bug, Linda.

  5. I’ve definitely been in situations where I procrastinated, one time or another. Many times it’s because it’s uncomfortable or it’s perceived as “good” for other reasons: like, being liked by everyone, the impression that you save time, the general feeling that you just don’t like to do it, so maybe it’ll somehow go away.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I love the idea of justifying procrastination with reasons that are perceived as “good”, Delia. When that happens, it is usually the Inner Critic or our inability to assert ourselves or even resistance that is actually providing the justification. In such a situation, it often helps to do some tapping on the issue to determine the real reason and also to go in for assertiveness training or coaching. Good point!

  6. Lisa says:

    I am not one to procrastinate, sure maybe with emptying the dishwasher, we all have something, but usually I like to tackle things and get them done, I don’t do well with things hanging over my head with that being said, I have been working on a business plan for sometime…but it has to be that way, as things keep changing and evolving. I have to respect my creativity and know that it will get done, maybe not as fast as I would like, but it will when the time is right. Great post!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Having a clear idea about why one is procrastinating and especially with regard to a particular task is helpful, Lisa. Business plans evolve as the business and markets develop. A good idea is to create a business plan with the knowledge avaiable at a given point of time and then use it to review for changes and revise it to reflect the business and the market in which you operate, say after a specific period of 3 or 6 months depending upon how volatile the market is or if there has been a major development which has made certain assumptions or areas of the plan redundant.

  7. Tamuria says:

    I used to send out regular emails to the parents of kids who had participated in my arts and crafts classes. I tried to keep the list updated to ensure I wasn’t harassing people whose kids had outgrown the classes or were no longer interested. The last time I went to do this I kept putting it off – procrastinating like mad and as a result, one of the mums who would have been taken off the list received my latest email and it prompted her to refer me to the company I now work for. This is one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve had so I’m eternally grateful for that procrastination – maybe intuition was the cause? Otherwise, I’m a great believer in eat that frog. Great post.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Tamuria. Quite clearly it was your intuition that told you to hold off sending the emails a bit longer. Congratulations on delaying – just this once.:)

  8. Vanita says:

    Hi Vatsala, I just saw this post today and it’s as if I needed to read it! My manager and I decided to wait with taking action last week when some unexpected developments took place, affecting our plan of action. We agreed to “sleep on it” before we take action next week. We needed time to regroup and think it through, in order to avoid wasted effort and backtracking further down the road. Great post, thanks! I agree with all the reasons presented.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Seems like a timely post for you, Vanita. That’s what Karmic Ally Coaching’s philosophy is all about. 🙂

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