Believe it or not, I’m a huge procrastinator. I’m better these days than I used to be, but I believe the idea of a pending deadline looming over your head is real motivation. List making is about reducing stress by helping us remember what we need to do, but it’s like that old saying, you can lead a list-maker to a Post-it, but you can’t make her complete a task. I feel like if I had some handy performance hacks, I may not be so bad when it comes to procrastinating as I am now. With that being said, I don’t think it is impossible to change that.
While it can be stressful to wait until the last minute to get things done, there are times when we can benefit from the adrenaline rush sparking our creativity. It might not be good to procrastinate all of the time, but with these tasks it may be in your favor to wait until the last minute:
1. Write creatively.
Writer’s block often comes from over-thinking. When I have an entire day to write a post, I always struggle to come up with the perfect first line. But if I wait until later in the day, it forces me to just write anything and that usually gets the creative juices flowing – just make sure to leave enough time for an edit!
2. Making tough personal choices.
I’ve heard that when you can’t decide something you should toss a coin in the air – not to decide for you, but because the second the coin takes flight you’ll realize what you really wanted. When we have the time to sit with a difficult decision, we can second guess our gut. While you can still take time early on to think things through, waiting until the last minute to actually decide will allow you to be more instinctive.
3. Saying you’re sorry.
Some mistakes require immediate reconciliation, but in a situation where you may have hurt a friend’s feelings or get in an argument with a loved out, take a day before you apologize. Even if you realize you messed up right away, waiting will take the emotion out of the situation and allow you to reflect in an unbiased way. The more able you are to see from the other person’s perspective, the more genuine your apology is likely to be.
For more advice on how to effectively dawdle, lollygag, and postpone, check out The Art of Procrastination by John Perry.