In Praise of Procrastination

It’s the end of January, and it just occurred to me, “Should I have written a New Year’s Resolution post?” Well, of course not, because I don’t believe in resolutions. I do believe in New Year’s Revelations, however.

In 2015, my revelation was: I don’t really like yogurt cups. I would buy them week after week, eat one or two, and then wait for the rest to get old enough so that I could throw them away with only mitigated guilt. This revelation changed my life. I quit buying yogurt cups and used all that free space in my refrigerator to hold champagne (which I do like-quite a bit, and have never thrown away unopened). Now, I’m always prepared for an impromptu celebration – like unexpected guests, landing a new client, or … Tuesday.

After recognizing my procrastination over eating yogurt, I began to examine how procrastination may positively impact other areas of my life. Could it benefit business or career, perhaps?

You’ll be happy to hear, the answer is, “yes.”
We’ve all heard about waiting 24 hours before responding to an upsetting email. But what about putting off responding to any email?

I stumbled across this management technique quite accidentally. A few years ago, I was team leader for a large group of virtual freelancers located all over the U.S. and India. My policy had always been to answer emails and phone calls within 2 hours – my entire, long career. Not only did a difference in time zones make this no longer possible, but there were a few Nervous Nellies on the team who would email me 8 or 9 or 12 times within a 30-minute period.

And then I saw a pattern. When I didn’t respond to the over-emailers, they began to resolve their problems themselves.

Win. Win. 
Freelancers learn coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills. I get to sleep and avoid a nervous breakdown.

Procastination–waiting for just the right circumstances, led me to finally pull that bottle of 69 Dom Perignon out of my refrigerator and share it with my loved ones. Loved ones who weren’t even born when that bottle was corked. So, we toasted to everything that happened to all of us since 1969: Births (2), graduations (6), marriages (2), divorces (2), departed loved ones (3), world travel (18 countries), new businesses (4).

Now, I leave you with these words of wisdom:

Don’t do today what you may not have to do tomorrow either!

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