The Strategist

Don't Be Afraid of Procrastination


08/26/2015 - 15:19



Did you open this post while working on a project? Or just had a moment alone and decided to read something? In any case, we are glad for your attention, but today, let’s talk about procrastination.



Vic via flickr
Vic via flickr
Author of the book “Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example” considers the nature of procrastination.

What we are dealing with

Procrastination is the plague of the twenty-first century. We are constantly putting off things for later, regardless of their size. Throw out the trash? - I'll go tomorrow. Append article? - Take it for Saturday. Propose to your girlfriend? – Will make her happy on Monday.

We are waiting until the deadline shall not come near to the degree of intimidation you yourself. Then you say: "I do not have time, so I have to hit the ground running or face the consequences".

Procrastination is how we use fear to force yourself to do something we do not want.

Use procrastination

It would may sound ironic, but procrastination has its advantages.

Energy. You obviously did not dream about this project, otherwise, you wouldn’t have delayed it for such a long time. Although, the fear of not completing the deal and the deadline give you extra power.

If you wait until you will be pushed to the work by the fear of the consequences, the wave of adrenaline will make you immediately get down to business.

Focus. Fear gives extra strength and concentration on the current task. Suddenly, you do not allow yourself breaks and being distracted by other things - phone, email, or colleagues - until everything is finished. Fear can wake you up and give a clarity of mind, just as it happens after a good sleep, or caffeine.

Speed. You do not give yourself indulgences such as vacation, and do not let your mind wander.

Now, let’s move to the more obvious things.

The negative side of procrastination

Stress. Putting aside the matter for later, you feel a lot of pressure and stress, which affects your health.

How do you feel, being in the cycle of procrastination for some time? Weary, exhausted, nervous, depressed? This is not the best way to work or manage life.

Low quality of work. The fear before deadline cramp creative thinking and narrows horizons. When you wait until the last moment, it is unlikely that you will demonstrate a good result. Projects or assignments, completed at the last minute, often lack the perspective of reasonableness, clarity, reflection, material or the participation of other people.

Less control and comfort. Procrastination makes the deadline important in your life. You do not have the possibility to look at the problem from the side, or pay attention to anything else.
Can I benefit from procrastination?

When the quality does not matter, procrastination is normal. The quality of many solutions, such as checking voice mail, unfolding papers, buying food, laundry, taking out the trash, does not suffer from the fact that you do it at the last minute.

No one will judge how well you roll the garbage; what matters that you did.

However, you shouldn’t delay more important things that directly affect your personal and professional life. If you get down to the business earlier, you will improve quality, maintain control over your own time and life and reduce stress.

From urgent to important

When you make friends with procrastination and learn to use it for good, you can go to a more conscious choice of tasks. This is where the road to a full life begins.

Prioritize and release more time for the sake of what is really worth living.

Based on "Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example" by Steve McClatchy