In praise of procrastination? Really?
Mark, when was the last time someone told you “nicely done” after you procrastinated?
Good question. I can’t remember. Like you, the predominant message I’ve heard my entire life is “get it done now.” Authors, speakers, preachers, parents, teachers, bosses, clients, great quotations, and trusted advisors, have delivered the same message in unison: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Heck, Larry the Cable Guy built a stand-up career around the phrase “Git-R-Done.” Hard to argue with Larry. And by the way, I largely agree with the sentiment of getting things down now. But I would also suggest that there are times when procrastination conveys an important personal message that we should heed.
Consider this an ode to putting some things off until tomorrow (or forever): In Praise of Procrastination.
The wise adage tells to not let small problems turn into big problems. So attack your problem right now. Right? Yes, but not always.
Have you noticed that sometimes tackling a problem straightway and head-on actually makes the problem bigger—and sometimes ignoring a problem lets a problem solve itself and disappear? Some disagreements with a neighbor, friend, spouse or colleague will only be exacerbated by immediate attention. If you give the quarrel some space and time—in other words, if you procrastinate—you both might discover it really wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place. Striking while the fire is hot often increases emotional outbursts and harsh words that make the original disagreement pale in comparison.
Some disagreements can’t be ignored and avoided. But giving problems breathing room affords better perspective, which can lead to better solutions or at least lessen intense emotions that turn molehills into mountains. Strike while the fire is hot—but not always. Sometimes it is better to stall and let problems sort themselves out.
Procrastination might be telling you not to make matters worse. As a wise sage once said: “If you’re in a hole, stop digging.” [Read more…]