According to one recent survey, the number one reason people procrastinate is they just don’t feel like doing the things they need to do.
Most people look at procrastination as a bad thing. And it can be. But there are times when procrastination is necessary. It can actually help you grow your business if you recognize the reasons behind your procrastination.
“Procrastination is a natural and necessary phenomenon, especially if you are a business owner or leader,” explains leadership coach Posy Gering of nextU Inc. “It is an indication that you have reached the current limits of your knowledge and imagination. In order to do the task you are postponing, you need to learn or risk something.”
Procrastination can mean it is time for new challenges and for you to expand. “The required learning can be a new skill or way of thinking. It’s about being able to face what is really happening, as opposed to a fondly held fantasy. The risk often has something to do with exposing yourself to judgment, ridicule or some other form of vulnerability. In general, people become punitive towards themselves or others, which kills creativity and productivity,” says Gering, author of The Next You, Discovering Confidence, Calm and Courage.
So don’t get down on yourself for procrastinating. Examine your current situation and use the period of procrastination as something positive. “Instead, leverage the barrier. If you can remove the shame or blame, times of procrastination can be huge inflection points, creating the opportunity for a new or renewed direction, rather than just grinding yourself deeper into a rut,” offers Gering.
She says there is an exercise you can do to unlock procrastination. “How high is your procrastination quotient? In what percentile would you place yourself in terms of great procrastinating?” she asks.
Gering adds, “The procrastination muscles are under-appreciated; they’re strong and powerful. Think about how much energy, grace and strategy go into avoiding, postponing, substituting and frittering. What aspects have you especially refined? Instead of resisting and shaming yourself, which, honestly, does not work, join the Procrastinators Hall of Fame. What lifetime achievement categories might other great procrastinators recognize and celebrate?”
This pattern of thinking can liberate you and allow you to embrace procrastination for the better.