Would you believe me if I told you that there are actual benefits behind procrastination/procrastinating? Crazy statement, I know. The idea came to me after having a meeting with one of my clients who is an accomplished person and does much more than just his day job, but is also a thought leader, event coordinator, speaker etc. I always ask successful professionals about their productivity and time management system, and the surprising answer I get was, “I can always do better.” Now I can commend a person for being humble, but humble he is not. When I asked to elaborate, he said, I get things done by waiting for the last-minute (procrastinating).
I don’t blame him as we are all busy people with many things on our plate. The surprising answer that was given to me by a productive professional was that 1) He could do better and 2) he waits for the last-minute. That got me to thinking and reflecting on that comment as I think it applies to a lot of us. Even though I am a productivity pro and time management geek, procrastination does rear its ugly head. I guess you can say that it is a part of life. The thing is, it made me explore what is actually happening when we do procrastinate yet still accomplish goals/tasks etc. Below are the 4 powerful benefits I discovered behind procrastination. I also start discussing how we can use these lessons to make us more productive and harness the hidden powers behind procrastination.
If you notice, when you wait for the last-minute, when you actually start working on your task, you are laser focused when you have a deadline and it is a must that you get [insert your task, assignment, project here] completed. You will shut the door and have a singular focus on the task at hand. I have been so focused sometimes that I forget to eat and actually shut off my phone so that I wont get distracted.
2) EXTREME SENSE OF URGENCY
When time is winding towards due date, your sense of urgency is extreme and you are determined to get answers, connect the dots and get things in place to have your task at hand completed. I sometimes surprise myself as I turn into a different person and will pick up the phone and not give up until I get answers immediately. The task becomes the most important thing in your life for that moment or moments until it is completed. You find yourself harnessing your can-do attitude and maybe even pull from within to put in the extra hours that lasts into the night until it is done!
Do you ever notice how resourceful and creative you get when you are under the gun. I have even heard people say, I perform at my best when under the gun and my creative juices flow to help me complete my task/project. You find unique solutions quickly as problems come up and you are able to piece together everything you need in a sprint of effort. If you were to look in the mirror, you would hear the soundtrack to the song, “eye of the tiger” playing in the background. You are possessed and become that ultra creative solution based person that comes up with ideas to help make it happen.
This is my favorite because, you actually finish and complete what you set out to do. The end product that was to be delivered was put together. Whether it be an event, an assignment at work, a presentation etc., it gets completed and ready to turn in. Many times you feel that you wished you had more time because you were just starting to really get into the flow and powerful energy of completing your task. Bottom line is that you got stuff done and that you accomplished what you set out to do.
Now imagine if you managed yourself and your schedule to where you can harness this energy and bring forth that same effort, but only not waiting for last-minute. Can it be done? Absolutely! People talk themselves into thinking that procrastinating helps them perform better because of the 4 items I listed above. Hence, the “I perform at my best under the gun,” but do you perform at your best? Can you harness that same level of focus, sense of urgency, creativity and actually finish well before the due date and especially before the last-minute?
If you can think of ways to manage not only yourself and your mind but also your schedule, then you can reap the surprisingly amazing benefits of procrastination. It is about giving full focus to your task at hand and having that sense of urgency no matter how far away the due date is. I make it a habit to schedule important project in my calendar before the date and also set up the “last-minute” time as well to go over what I have worked on before. When harnessing the 4 powers I mentioned above ahead of schedule, I find that my end product is much better than having to accept that a last-minute effort would be better. I am able to start the project and have it done well ahead of time and this gives me time to think about the work I already did and the actual last-minute efforts is used to work on the details and make the end product/assignment even better.
Try channeling that same energy ahead of time on purpose with your next project or task that you have been putting off, and approach what you do with that same level of procrastinating energy without having to actually wait because as you already know procrastinating is not good but the energy and behaviors many people have when under the gun can be very powerful if used and controlled.