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).
“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
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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