Why You Should Procrastinate
By Kerul Kassel
Higgins had a wonderful idea for a new business initiative – one
that was nicely aligned with her current business model and values:
A membership continuity program to give her consulting clients more
support and value while increasing her visibility and enhancing her
“expert” status. Higgins, a New York-based leadership consultant,
had been thinking about how to move forward with it and how it might
look, though nothing much seemed to have come of it yet … it had
been months. When she told colleagues and friends about this idea,
they had been excited for her and offered their encouragement. Six
months later, though, they were wondering why she had involved
herself in other projects, as she seemed to be making little headway
with this more heart-connected effort.
too, wondered why she wasn't making more of an effort, and began to
doubt herself. She couldn't decide if she wasn't managing her time
well, if her priorities were off kilter or if she was being just
was, however, another alternative. Perhaps she really was making
progress, though it was less tangible than she expected it to be.
She had been experimenting mentally with some of her ideas, making
contacts with people who had done similar or related things and
talking with people who were in her target market about what their
needs might be in this area. All of this was percolating and
marinating in a positive way, so that when she was ready to take
action on it, that action would be informed, inspired and highly
focused, and there would be little wasted effort. Meanwhile, she
was investing most her energy into strengthening her current revenue
business people face this kind of postponed initiative, and it
affects not only their self-perception, but also their effectiveness
and productivity. And the fix isn’t what you’d expect it to be.
Let your feet drag: It sounds counter-intuitive, right? Put
something off just because you don't have crystal clarity?
Shouldn't you be doing something – anything – to create
Recently, in an Orlando-area workshop, participants were involved in
developing a more in-depth picture of what they wanted their future
to look like, including their business or career goals, financial
profile, personal aspirations, relationships, home life, etc.
Denise Daniels, who had sold her family business a few months
earlier, hoped to leave with a clear and thorough idea of what was
next for her. Despite a variety of visioning exercises, it didn't
happen for her that evening. She simply wasn’t ready yet. Pushing
for “the right answer” when the broad outline isn’t yet settled
results in wheel-spinning, at best.
you’re waiting for that proverbial light bulb to go on, there are
certainly things you can do to help the process along, including
examining your values, composing missions, mind-mapping, journaling,
even dream-boarding and meditating. Sometimes the most effective
technique for defining your vision is to sit alone on a deserted
beach or take a solitary hike in the woods.
you've played with those exercises and the vision is still vague,
here's an expert recommendation: wait. You read it right. Wait.
Wait for clarity.
action simply for the sake of taking action usually results in
frustration, exasperation and time lost. As an alternative, focus
on other goals and activities for the time being. You never know,
engaging in them instead might lead to meeting someone, reading
something, hearing or seeing an idea, resource or event that becomes
the stimulus forward, that connects you to the next steps or removes
the veil in front of what you'd like your future to look like.
Stop thinking so much: The cloudiness of your future vision will
have you concerned, frustrated, impatient, confused, or just feeling
stuck. Doubt and indecision will dog your actions, if you let them.
The focus on the future can often lead to second-guessing and
struggle with the present, which causes a HUGE reduction in
productivity – at least the kind of effectiveness that produces
results that you can be really satisfied with.
moment, forget about the future, particularly if contemplating it
gets you tied in knots. Let go of the perceived need to make a
decision, particularly if there is no deadline (and if there is a
deadline, say “no” unless you feel a definite “yes”). Put your
energy fully into those activities that are most strongly aligned
with your clear picture of what you’d like your current – not future
– success to look like. And don’t pay any heed to those
self-critical messages running through your brain telling you you’re
a slacker for not moving ahead. Your inner judge is there to help
prevent you from failing, so understand its purpose without buying
into its bullying.
used to solving problems by analysis and intentional thinking. This
generally works pretty well, unless you’re courting creativity and
future possibilities. We usually manage our lives, work and
challenges using logic, reason, categorization, and process –
something our culture is quite keen on. Most of us aren’t practiced
at using the imaginative, holistic, more random and feeling
dimensions that set the stage for synthesis, possibility and bigger
picture ideation. “Mindless” activities help put us in touch with
this part of our brain, and we can more easily make the lateral
connections that lead to an “a-ha!” It’s like the difference
between systematically looking under every boulder, around every
tree and within every bush with the only aim being to find “it”
quickly, versus meandering along where you feel drawn while
maintaining a keen awareness of your surroundings, with the purpose
of enjoying the search, and allowing the space and time as needed
until “it” is found.
the latter requires faith and trust, as well as self-confidence;
faith that the information you need will come to you in time, trust
that you’re not missing opportunities or shooting yourself in the
foot while you wait, and self-confidence that you’re not being
stupid, woo-woo, lazy, or using bad judgment. It takes some
practice to sustain patience in the face of those internal critics,
but it’s entirely possible. As you experience more positive
outcomes it gets easier. In the interim, you’re OODLES more
productive, as you put your shoulder into current priorities and
efforts, those for which the time is now ripe and appropriate.
Read other articles and learn more
about Kerul Kassel.
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