Could one of the most dreaded human attributes that most of us are trying too hard to eliminate be a good thing? Before you send hate mail or throw rotten eggs my way, please hear me out. At the peak of my career, during the renaissance of the tech startup movement, the message across the board was “fail fast”, “move fast and break things” and other variations of the same rhetoric. And move fast we did. It made sense because it was uncharted territory that gave birth to business like Facebook, Snapchat etc. never existed in the past and now define our social fabric.
I continued to carry this attitude of “move fast and break things” into my career and personal, always willing to embrace new ideas, make fast decisions and act on opportunities as they arise until I started to see holes in this model. In the last 18 months, I’ve been testing a different approach: every time a new idea or opportunity presents itself. I write it down on my notes and then get on with my life. I figured that if this “thing” was soo important, it would keep coming back to my mind over and over until I had no choice but give it my undivided attention. What I found was that most ideas just dropped in the background and never resurfaced. Could they have been worth something or a mere waste of effort should I have pursued them? Only time will tell? All I know is that I’m more focused and less overwhelmed.
Deliberate procrastination is now my new modus operdi. Unless if I am extremely sure about something, all I do is write it down in the ideas to review folder and then get on with life. If keeps coming back, then it gets some more focus based on the criteria I have been slowly building to help decide what to work on. Once in a while, I review the ideas folder to see if some of the ideas are still relevant and clean up things that I will probably never work on.
So how can deliberate procrastination be good for you? For starters, it’ll help you avoid unnecessary tasks. It also shines a light on what is really important for you. I’ve personally found that tasks that fall off the wagon were probably not crucial in moving my life forward. In a way, it can help you make good decisions by minimising the steam of options flooding your way.
My only caution is that you should not use deliberate procrastination as an excuse for inaction. If you have determined that something is crucial and need your attention then focus on it. Then rest can sit on the queue until you are ready to work on them.