Thursday, January 22, 2015

Procrastination – Your Secret Weapon

Procrastination has long been seen as one of the evils to be avoided. It’s safe to say that all of us have dawdled on a task at one point or another in our lives. In the business world, managers, supervisors, and business owners have spent countless hours reading helpful articles on the topic and books. They have invested thousands of dollars attending bootcamps, seminars, intervention, and re-education programs – all in hopes of overpowering procrastination but to no avail.

Is it time to declare that resistance is futile? Not necessarily. What if there’s a way to look at procrastination from a different angle - as something that will lead one to success and glory, rather than failure? The secret lies in the fact that not all forms of procrastination is necessarily evil.

Think about it: would jumping to a task right away always result in the most productive output? When you start to make more conscious decisions on what to procrastinate on, you might end up being pleasantly surprised. Consider the following:

Doing Nothing Can Be Better Than Doing Anything
What if you do not have to do anything at all? Sometimes, what looks like a crisis can be a matter of opinion. Have you ever experienced something that looked like an issue initially but worked itself out and/or went away on its own? Some clues to the true severity of the problem can often be overlooked in the heat of the moment. Perhaps the best way to resolve such situations would be wait until the dust settles and then re-assess the situation later or to simply let things run their course.

If You Are Busy Procrastinating It Could be a Good Thing
We don't mean playing a game on your smartphone in a middle of the day. If you are busy working on something else that’s more meaningful, dropping everything to pick up a new task will not necessarily lead to a better outcome. When you try to do too many things at once, you may end up finishing nothing at all. On the other hand, if you take the time to finish what you’ve started, you will end up with a task well done and a renewed sense of energy to tackle other tasks – like the one you’re procrastinating on. Going back to the prior point, you may also find that the task in question is no longer relevant.

Get Someone Else to Do it!
These days, you can outsource almost anything. The beauty of allowing yourself to outsource a task is you can always find others who can do the job better and faster. With delegation you may still be procrastinating but you are no longer wasting your time! Of course, if you find yourself delegating work because you don’t like anything you do at work, it may be a reason to revisit why you’re still there in the first place.

Know Your Enemy
According to the ancient strategist Sun Tzu, taking a step back to understand the reasons why you procrastinate could help you get the upper hand in the battle. A lot of times, we end up procrastinating because we feel pressured to do something or take on too many things. 

Give yourself a break. A clear mind spawns great ideas and fosters creativity. With the acronym below you can procrastinate like a pro.

Perceive – see the task or action for what it really is.
Reality – is it a true crisis or does the need simply exists in your mind?
Observe – how are you reacting? Are you giving yourself some time-off?
Collate – gather information before you jump unto something
Receive – be receptive and try to understand what needs to be done.
Acknowledge – accept that someone else may have a better solution.
Sit – don’t be afraid to sit it out!
Time out – stop worrying when you’re procrastinating. It won’t help.
Indulge – enjoy your time by doing something you like instead of worrying.
Note – every procrastinating event maybe a lesson to learn from.
Accept – not everything deserves your attention or is worth fussing over.
Talk – a perceived problem or difficulty can be solved by communication.
Entertain – other solutions maybe right in front of you. Like the ones in this article! Go for it!

Rachel and the team

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