Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Procrastination: why sometimes it's valuable

Procarstination is often, well usually, seen as a bad thing. 

There are dozens of books telling us how to get over it, be more productive and reach our goals.

So why might I be in favour of it?

Recently I've had a couple of incidents that have brought home to me its value.  One a personal incident and one professional.

On a personal level, I received an email that blew me away in terms of its arrogance and blunt statements.  To say it surprised me was an understatement.

And my fingers itched to reply in the same vein blasting my correspondent.  But I didn't because...

... because if I had done it would have landed me at the same level as my emailer.  Not a good place to be in my estimation.  For whatever reason, and at the time I couldn't see the reason, my correspondent had almost,  like our cat and his projectile vomiting, felt the need to get rid of some stuff. 

So I waited.  Then I replied in a calm tone and not questioning the statements.  Passive?  Maybe but trying to rebut the statements would have been my head against a brick wall.

What I received back was a complete apology for something written after one of those middle of the night blinding flashes and decisions.

I've had them, been there and caused problems as a result.

Professionally, I sent a client a draft of some text which they liked, were about to go with then almost as an aside I tried it in a different format.  Which worked better.

So pausing with your hand on the send button or giving yourself ten minutes, an hour or a day to think again, can prove invaluable.  Personally it can retrieve a relationship.  And professionally it can stop you losing a contract or upsetting a valued customer.

Have you had any moments of procrastination that have turned out well for you?

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