|I’ll find a photo later…
Procrastination gets a lot of bad press. It’s generally seen as a negative trait, as we’re constantly told not to procrastinate and made to feel guilty if we do. However, as with most things in life, things aren’t always that black and white. Perhaps there are positives to procrastination.
Should we really listen to those bearded intellectual psychologist types; the sort who constantly try to make us feel guilty about procrastination? We all procrastinate, so being made to feel bad about it isn’t going to help matters.
Why don’t we try to see the positive side to procrastination instead? After all, the glass is half full isn’t it, not half empty?
According to the English Dictionary, procrastination is defined as:
The act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off to a future time; delay.
The word procrastination is actually derived from the Latin procrastinatus, from pro meaning “forward” and crastinus meaning “of tomorrow”.
The word pro is normally considered as a positive; if you’re pro something, then you’re for that something as opposed to against it.
So, pro-crastination surely means that we’re for crastination as opposed to against it. As crastination is derived from the Latin meaning tomorrow, doesn’t it therefore follow that procrastinators are looking forward to the future!
One of the greatest labour saving inventions of today is tomorrow – Vincent T. Foss
By pedantic definition then, procrastination isn’t negative at all, it’s society’s perception of procrastination that’s negative. Procrastination is merely doing something tomorrow instead of today.
Hyper Efficiency isn’t Normal
In the media we’re constantly being sold the idea of how to improve our efficiency and not procrastinate. There are books, courses, blogs, you name it, the list seems never ending. But do we really need them?
You can’t be 100% efficient all the time; it’s not normal (unless perhaps you’re German or an MBA Havard type uber nerd).
Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday – Author Unknown
Real people like you and me (the ones with lives) hate those super-efficient types, they make us look pathetic and ineffectual. Remember the school swat, Billy No-mates? We don’t want to turn out like that, we need to have balance in our lives (with friends) and procrastination is a perfect way to achieve that balance.
Procrastination helps to prevent burn out, it’s nature’s way of getting us to slow down and take a breath. Procrastinators get the job done eventually, but they also manage to beat their high score on Quake in the process and have a few beers with their friends.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Procrastination has lots of positives, you just need to know where to look.
By procrastinating you give yourself much more time to think. During this time your subconscious will be processing possible alternatives, leading to a much more considered and well thought out solution to your problem. Rushing leads to mistakes!
By procrastinating you give time for the dynamics of a situation to change or settle down, allowing you to take the new dynamics into account when you get around to doing your job, or maybe it would even save you the hassle of having to do the job anyway.
The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow – Author Unknown
Projects always run a bit better if there’s a little bit of pressure; a sense of urgency. Getting the job done straight away can’t help this, but with a little bit of procrastination, a sense of urgency can be generated and your mind will be much more focused on the task in hand.
My Name is Richard and I’m a Procrastinator
Just because you’re a procrastinator doesn’t mean you can’t achieve things and have a successful life. I’m a procrastinator and proud of it and have no immediate plans to change, yet I feel I’ve achieved quite a lot and hopefully will continue to do so, just not today…
Efficiency can be your Enemy
Sometimes though I do have the occasional bout of super efficiency, which in one instance landed me in a spot of bother. I had a boss (German as it happens) that liked to have everything planned and organised to the ‘N’ th degree (as they do), he also frequently liked to change his mind.
On this particular occasion my project went perfectly according to plan, like a well oiled machine. I had 100 newly designed digital radio cards sitting on the shelf, tested and ready to ship. Only my boss had changed his mind in the interim period and had failed to communicate his change in direction with me.
The result was I got in hot water for having 100 cards sitting on a shelf that were now surplus to requirements. Clearly I couldn’t win, I thought my boss would have been impressed with my German like efficiency, maybe even promotion? Obviously I was deluded. Procrastination would have prevented this whole fiasco.
Procrastinate and Feel Good About it
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow – Mark Twain
And is if you’re not convinced already, just remember:
- Procrastinators take advantage of the latest events
- Procrastinators have more time to think about solutions
- Procrastinators don’t suffer from burn out
- Procrastinators get high scores in Quake/Doom… (insert computer game of choice)
So next time you feel yourself procrastinating, don’t feel guilty about it, that’s counter productive. Embrace it! Look at all the positives and spare a thought for all those lonely efficient types working their backsides off.