Have you ever felt like just sitting back and do whatever it is you’re suppose to do, later? Do you get that feeling of ‘I really can’t be bothered to do this now’? Most of all, are you irritated with yourself for having these feelings and the fact that you then not get on with the task in hand?
It may come as a surprise to you, but the truth is you’re not alone in the world with this kind of emotion. Procrastination, or as the dictionary puts it ‘the action of delaying or postponing something’ is more common that you imagine.
It took me a really long time to realise that it’s a everyday recurrence for many – and that when it happens it’s not the end of the world! Time after time when this happens to me now I come out of the moment much richer and more focussed. Honestly, that really happens. There is a reason for your mind to slip into this kind of mode.
The general believe is that it’s not healthy to spend time with your own thoughts. Luckily, there are many more that believes the complete opposite. And I am one of the latter. Taking time out creates clarity in my mind and head. I reflect on issues and figure out how to address them and work through them.
Therefore I believe no one should feel uncomfortable and upset when this happens in their lives. It is nothing to be ashamed of. If you work out what the procrastination is about you’ll realise and see you needed a moment to make sure something is either right, wrong or can wait till later.
Reading the post by Ric Edelman on How Procrastination Can Help You Accomplish More confirms my believes. In this article Ric puts it very simply and to the point that it actually is ‘one of your most useful tools in the workplace’ – and I can’t agree more. I’ve commented before that ‘taking a step back’ or ‘get up and do something else’ more than often solves the problem. It was quite late within my career working in offices that having such an attitude became clear to me. Many, many times I felt that I need to address an email – or follow up on a voicemail – immediately. For example… a client makes a change to a delivery date bringing it forward with the notion it is now crucial to be completed sooner rather than later. Jumping in head first and start making the changes in your teams’ diaries, increase the pressure on suppliers, etc. in general cause havoc for everyone. Then 10 mins later, the client is back on the phone and now the deadline has changed again – only this time it’s pushed back with days! You go back to everyone, luckily with some good news, however the stress levels have already risen. On top of all, you interrupted that important piece of work you were doing and now you have lost your focus. Was it all necessary? No, not at all. If you only left the new instructions for a bit to ‘simmer’ on the back burner, none of the stress would’ve happened.
Don’t get me wrong, we can’t put everything ‘off till later’, but this is where the ‘focus and concentration’ comes in – and perhaps a bit of procrastination? Of course you need to address the issue and figure out if it is as important as they make out or not. I just found that most of the time it’s not needed to storm ahead and ‘fix’ problems immediately. The amazing thing about ‘problems’ is that they do have a habit of fixing themselves – specially if you give it a bit of ‘breathing space’.