Let's Rebrand Procrastination!
Friday, November 15, 2019
By Shelli Herman, Shelli Herman & Associates
Procrastination has gotten a bad rap in modern-day business and for good reason. It can cause unnecessary stress and pressure, as well as missed deadlines, which are the very things we are all looking to mitigate. As I was procrastinating writing this blog, I realized that allowing my idea to incubate some was powerful and even allowed me to innovate a bit by reading not just one, but two books on the topic. What is the harm in putting off writing a blog when I can learn more about an interesting subject?
Present day analysis tells us that procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may seem counterintuitive, but giving yourself the time to think about a difficult problem could actually result in more creative approaches and, ultimately, better solutions. Some even believe that moving too fast on a project might cause you to choose the easiest course of action, rather than the best one.
While you’re procrastinating, your mind is still aware that the task does have to be done, eventually. You might find yourself thinking up ways to improve on whatever it is you have to do as you go about your daily life at home and at work. University of San Diego professor Frank Partnoy wrote extensively about the benefits of having time to assess issues in his book, Wait. Procrastinating gives your ideas time to percolate; it allows you to sit down and tackle the task after your subconscious has chewed it over. The data shows us that the result is often better outcome.
Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Originals, says that "When you procrastinate, you're more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns."
I am not going to make procrastination a habit and have promised those around me that I will work with my usual speed and urgency to get the job done. However, I am going to push pause from time to time and allow the unusual to become usual. I cannot help but think that the extra time for consideration and creativity will mean that I have more joy and a better outcome when I finish something tomorrow.