Monday Spark: When procrastination is a good thing.

when procrastination is goodProcrastination is a bad thing, right?

Well, it certainly can be. It can be a real productivity killer.

You have a deadline, it’s getting closer and closer, and you still haven’t closed your Twitter page and got started.

Some people argue they work best under pressure, so procrastination is a positive thing. I’m not sure about that. Sounds like a clever, or not so clever, rationalization to me.

All that said, I know there have been times when I have been procrastinating for what turned out to be a pretty good reason.

For example, in one instance I was due to send a prospective client a proposal for a substantial writing project. We had agreed on the scope of the engagement and I had told him I was going to submit the proposal by a particular day and time.

As the due date for the proposal got closer and closer, I was sitting around doing nothing. Or rather, doing just about anything other than writing the proposal.

Finally I paused and asked myself why I was putting this off. Why was I procrastinating?

After a period of introspection, I finally figured out that I didn’t really want the job. The money was good, but it wasn’t really my kind of gig. Furthermore, I was getting some bad vibes from my contact person. I hadn’t worked with him before, but I was getting a feeling that he wouldn’t be very good to work with.

Finally, I trusted those little voices in my head and declined the project.

The same thing happened to me when considering a business partnership with someone. On the face of it, all the signs were good. We had complimentary skills and resources, and a good idea to work on together.

But as we went through the process of putting our plan together I found myself procrastinating, again. And for similar reasons. In spite of the plan looking good, it ultimately didn’t feel right, and I let it drop.

My point is that when you find yourself procrastinating, it isn’t necessarily a negative thing.

Sometimes it is, and you need to address that. But on other occasions what feels like procrastination is actually something quite different. It’s a group of smart and rather quiet voices in the back of your head warning you that you might want to reconsider.

If you find yourself procrastinating about just about everything, that’s probably a problem you need to address.

But if you are generally pretty productive, and find yourself procrastinating only over specific tasks or decisions, you might want to sit back and listen for those little voices.

You might not be procrastinating at all.

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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