It’s rare for someone in our busy-is-best culture to encourage procrastination, but there are times when the wait-and-see approach trumps all. The time has come to stop beating yourself up for procrastinating and start embracing these hidden benefits of non-action:
Procrastination prevents you from making the wrong decision.
If you don’t know what decision to make, it’s not time to make a decision. If you’re unsure which way to turn, give yourself the space and time to sit with different potential outcomes, sift through priorities and get to the heart of the matter. The right decision usually becomes clear with enough time.
Procrastination is a wealth of information.
The next time you find yourself unwillingly procrastinating, take a step back to examine the situation and you will find a treasure trove of unconscious motivations. A son, for example, recently inherited his parents’ business. He was not eager to run the business, procrastinated paying bills and let the company slide into ruin. Upon reflection, he found loads of resentment and anger toward his parents — something he was barely aware of and never able to verbalize while his parents were alive. If he hadn’t examined his procrastination more deeply, he would have been stuck with his emotional baggage as well as a company he never wanted. Instead of shunning your procrastination, use it to uncover underlying feelings and verbalize something you’ve been acting out.
Procrastination may be your intuition speaking.
Unconsciously sensing a shift may lead to unexplained procrastination. Even if you can’t put your finger on why you’re procrastinating, it may be an opportunity to trust your intuition and wait. For example, one of my clients recently turned 50. She had always planned to take a big overseas trip for the milestone birthday, however when the time came, she inexplicably put it off because “it didn’t feel right.” Turns out her mother ended up needing emergency surgery that same week, and thankfully, my client was able to be there for her. If your intuition is speaking, something will usually come to pass that explains your procrastination.
Procrastination offers the opportunity to relax.
Dragging your feet may be a sign that you need to pull back and take it easy. Let’s say you run a business that oscillates naturally from busy to slow and back again. Instead of rushing to find more business during the down time, allow yourself to relax in preparation for your next upswing. Get stuff done around the house or revisit an old, creative hobby. You’ll feel refreshed when the work inevitably comes your way again.
To your emotional health,