21st July 2017

A Time Management Skill that May Surprise You

Procrastination is a dirty word in the corporate vernacular. Procrastination is a cardinal sin in most organizations and those who indulge in it are often looked down upon and at times vilified. The vilification stops today!

Procrastination can be a high-performance tool – an example of a time management skill that is sorely underrated. In fact, a procrastinator should be admired and respected.

How, you ask?

Procrastination empowers others to solve problems.

Have you ever received an email from a colleague or a direct report alerting you to a problem or an issue? I imagine this happens frequently throughout your day. Now think back to a time where you read the email and then did not respond. You let the email sit in your inbox. As the hours wore on, the problem was resolved –without your input. Miraculous! Your procrastination – your lack of action – created the space and the opportunity for your colleague or direct report to resolve the problem. You empowered them to solve the problem.

Procrastination helps us cull our to do lists.

I’ll get to that later. No, I am not going to work on that project today. These are the familiar refrains that run through our heads as we put off, yet again, that task or project because it is too hard, too overwhelming, boring – you fill in the blank. However, procrastination actually assists us in getting the work done at the ideal time. The high-performance procrastinator waits to be inspired. Inspiration does not strike on a timetable. High performance procrastinators use another task or project to stimulate their thinking on all of their projects and tasks. So, yes, they could be said to be procrastinating, however, they are actually leveraging their brain’s systems to provide insights and ideas on multiple projects at once. When inspiration strikes, they will be ready and complete their task or project at the ideal time.

Procrastination shows us what has real meaning, purpose and interest for us.

Procrastination opens a window to look inside ourselves. There is a reason you are procrastinating. Procrastination shows us what we fear, do not want to do, what does not have our attention or interest, and/or does not connect with our sense of meaning and purpose. This is very useful information – high performance information. If I can name my fears, examine why I do not want to do a project, or why I am not interested – then I am able to take a step forward.