“I’ll do it tomorrow.” “I’ll start in an hour.” “Just 5 more minutes.” You’ve all probably found yourselves saying phrases like this throughout life. Procrastination is rooted deeply in all of them. Most teachers or bosses try to instill that procrastination is bad for us. I disagree. I think it depends on how you operate under pressure. Over the years I’ve found that anything I turned out, when produced in a minimally pressured situation was not always my best work. I thrive under pressure. If there’s a deadline to be met, I never question if I will actually get X done; it will be done, and done well with the added stress from time constraints. I suppose I’m lucky in this way. I know several other people who also benefit from pressurized situations. However, I also know other people who shut down or freak out when pressure exists. Clearly procrastinating is the enemy for this group and should be avoided. But back to my fellow pro- procrastination people, yes we’re lucky enough to be able to take that extra 15 minute break but still get the job done, but there are specific conditions when procrastination is bad for us as well. Think back to school when the paper was due at 8 AM, it was 1 AM that morning and you had nothing more than an intro paragraph on your computer screen. So you grabbed some Redbull and Skittles (I’ve never been able to look at skittles the same after one all nighter) and you chugged out a work of art by 8 AM that morning. Victory! You beat the odds and everyone who doubted a 15 page paper could be produced in that amount of time. You raced the clock and won. Let’s change the scenario a bit: You had a 15 page paper to write, and no deadline at all. Maybe you had given yourself a deadline of 2 weeks to write it, but you were the only person who you had to answer to in this matter.
Me: Gosh I’ve just been really busy these past two weeks, I can’t meet this two week deadline.
Me: Okay, no problem. As much time as you need.
There’s no race against the clock here. There’s no pressure on your back for completion. There’s no stress motivating you to push forward under the gun. Procrastination wins here- not you. What am I getting at? The key ingredient to being an effective procrastinator is having some type of accountability. Unless you are really afraid of yourself, making you the voice to answer to simply does not work. I know that I was only able to make strides toward changing my career when I began working with a life coach. I had tried to motivate myself on my own, and as rah rah as I am, I simply could not produce results. But, when I had someone to answer to, someone setting deadlines and goals for me, it was a whole different ball game. I HAD TO GET THINGS DONE. tI was honestly too embarrassed to present a sub-par excuse about not completing different tasks. So what if my motivation wasn’t self driven? I achieved what needed to be done because accountability was in the picture. So find some accountability and then procrastinate happily!