Even negative habits can be put to good use…sometimes
We always think of procrastination as a bad thing. We think by putting off what we need to do, we will never end up reaching our goals.
But, let’s consider this, what if procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What if putting things off can be helpful, in certain situations?
We live in an age where we’re constantly being rushed. With the advent of email and instant messaging, most people want everything done yesterday. It takes only a second to reply to your emails right? So why not do it immediately. Soon, you find yourself under constant pressure to respond to everything immediately because that’s what people have to come expect from you.
But what if you took a minute to slow down.
Not everything needs to be done now and certain things probably should be put off till tomorrow.
Clarity of Purpose
Sometimes, putting things off can actually help you gain clarity about what you’re doing.
When you don’t want to do something, it’s not necessarily because you’re being lazy. You can ask yourself why you’re putting it off. Very often, the answer will be because it’s complicated.
Slowing down can help us clarify our choices.
We know we need to do certain tasks to accomplish our goals. We know that we need to put out work so we get paid, but we don’t always question the why of it. There’s a lot being said about being productive but, what we really need to focus on is being productive with a purpose.
What you really should be asking yourself, is why you’re doing this task in the first place. Often enough, tasks seem more complicated when you don’t understand their purpose. You need to ask yourself how the task actually fits into your life and your goals.
Listen to Your Emotions
How often have you known in your gut, something was wrong?
Trust your senses.
People tend to put things off because they don’t like doing it. Sometimes your heart’s just not in it. The reason you may be struggling with that snooze button is because you know in your gut that the project is not right for you. It doesn’t epitomize who you are.
Most productivity experts tend to advise that you should just eat the frog and preferably first thing in the morning. They advise us to power through our feelings of uncertainty.
But maybe if you wait till the afternoon, you’ll begin to realize that you shouldn’t be eating that frog at all.
If that’s the really the case, sleeping on it might just be the right answer.
Perfection over Progress
When you’re dealing with tons of other people’s money… perfection is a thing! When you’re working in finance, you have to be sure you’re perfect. You can’t be missing out a zero here and there.
So when it comes to certain tasks, you better forget about progress over perfection. You can beat the clock on a report but, if you’ve got something wrong, you know you’ll be out of a job tomorrow.
Fear is a great motivator as they say. One of the most cited reasons for procrastination is the fear of failure. But, I say the fear of failure can keep you on your toes. If you feel like that you’ve got a lot riding on something, you’re more likely to pay attention and do it well.
There’s never a downside to doing things perfectly.
We all need a time out. Using procrastination as a time out could prove very effective. Don’t work till you drop. Sometimes, you need to put things off on purpose, so that when you come back to it, you’re all re-charged and ready to go.
But, this won’t work if you’re beating yourself up about all the procrastinating that you’re doing. If you keep calling yourself lazy, it will indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What you rather need to be doing is saying you’re taking a break to come back stronger.
I’m not making arguments for procrastination because I love doing it so much. I know it’s been one of my biggest vices and I’ve tried every which way to overcome it, most of the time.
I say most of the time because I’ve actually come across situations where not doing something on time or immediately, has saved me from a lot of grief later. That’s when I realized that there’s some merit in slowing down and not rushing.
I’ve realized that much of the time, in our rush to get things done, we compromise on quality. The level of mediocrity I see is sad. People are more concerned with getting things done quickly rather than getting things done right.
So the next time you feel like you’re procrastinating, pause for a moment and think about how you could use it to your advantage.