If you’ve ever started a task only to have something else pull you away as if a giant electromagnet was pulling your attention, then you have had to deal with procrastination. It can be frustrating, annoying, and self defeating. All I have to say is, thank God for procrastination!
What would we do without it?
Delayed, Derailed, and Demotivated
I’ve been working on a, um… one second.
Heh heh. The kittens were playing and they were so cute. They just were totally enamored with this piece of string, and…
Whoops. Let’s see. Where was I? Oh yeah.
I’ve been working on an exciting project for an upcoming product release and reveal. It’s been a blast, and design and coordination has really been exciting. I’m passionate about what the product will do to help people achieve their dreams, and I’m having a lot of fun.
It was great for awhile, but then my productivity started taking a nosedive. Part of it was due to focusing more on my son when he was with me, but some of it just didn’t make sense. I noticed I was procrastinating more and more.
At times like this people often get frustrated with themselves, buckle down, and force themselves forward. I take a different approach, mainly because I don’t see procrastination as a negative. I thank God for procrastination. Here’s why.
The Value of Procrastination
There is a reason we procrastinate. Procrastination highlights when we are doing the wrong thing. Sometimes it’s that we’re doing busy work instead of work we should be doing. Sometimes it’s that we’re doing work that doesn’t really resonate with us.
Whatever it is, procrastination is simply our minds telling us that we’re trying to do the wrong thing. After all, when have you ever been passionate about a project, focused on the right task, had all the items you needed to complete it, and procrastinated? It just doesn’t happen.
In fact it’s often…
Okay, Loopy is just sitting crouched down ready to attack Nolo and she’s clueless, and… oh! There he went. Lol.
Sorry… um… oh, yeah. The value of procrastination.
When we procrastinate, it’s our subconscious telling us “this is not what you should be working on!” We haven’t been paying attention to the obvious clues, so it just decides to derail us and make us do something else. Thank God for procrastination! It’s our brain’s last ditch effort to get our attention.
Listening to Procrastination
We all have to do things we don’t like and we all have to do things we don’t gravitate toward. That’s just life. Sometimes we have to find the best ways to make it through.
But often, procrastination tells us something’s wrong. For instance, we may be working on a project plan, plowing ahead with determined focus. As the days turn into weeks, the slog starts to overtake us and the passion just isn’t there. Then procrastination steps in.
This may be exactly what we need. Sometimes the original draft of a project isn’t right, and instead of being open to new thoughts and ideas we’re too busy working that we’ve lost sight of whether or not we’re doing what we should.
The original version of Frozen was a very formulaic Disney movie that just wasn’t gelling with anyone that worked on it. It wasn’t until they decided to retool it and basically start from scratch that they came up with the blockbuster success we know and love today.
Procrastination tells us we’re doing the wrong thing. When I started procrastinating on my project, it wasn’t because I didn’t believe in it. It’s because I was focused on creating all the game assets and not on the key functionality, story, and structure. My passion waned because deep down I knew that I was doing the wrong things. I was doing busy work. Thank God for procrastination! By paying attention to it, I was able to adjust and turn my productivity around.
Working with Procrastination
When you notice yourself procrastinating, it’s time to take inventory and figure out why. I understand that sometimes we are stuck in situations where we can’t control what we work on or even how, but there are still methods to be more productive when procrastination clues you in that you’re doing busy work.
If you find yourself procrastinating, try these simple techniques:
- Ask Yourself Why. Take a few minutes to take inventory of why you are procrastinating. Sometimes the answer is as simple as taking a break. Sometimes it’s more involved, but the first step is to ask the question.
- If You Can’t Change What, Change How. Sometimes all you need is to simply apply a different focus. Look at doing things differently, in a different order, or from a different location. Often getting out of the same situation into a new environment can help a great deal.
- If You Can’t Change How, Change Your Outlook. Find ways to make the work more energizing and fun. Reward yourself for meeting milestones with breaks, treats, or points toward bigger rewards. Make it a game. Get others to join so you can encourage each other. Break it down into smaller tasks, and Focus on one small thing at a time. (I have a lot more motivational ideas, but you’ll have to wait for my product reveal to discover them!)
Thank God for procrastination. It’s actually a helpful indicator to know when something’s off. If you pay attention, ask the right questions, and change your focus, you can use procrastination to make you exceptionally productive and your future exceptionally bright.