I had a request for some wisdom on procrastination. I’m finally getting around to it… just kidding. I write my blog in advance, so it’s just seems like it’s delayed in getting to print.
So what is procrastination?
The dictionary definition is the action of delaying or postponing something. Huh. That’s interesting. Procrastination is an action. Not doing something is doing something.
The urban dictionary definition is even better – “I’ll put up a definition later” or “what most people call planning.”
Procrastination obviously has a bad rap.
Sometimes it’s deserved. Like when we are stalling just because we aren’t disciplined enough to do what needs to be done, or just plain avoiding something.
But not always. Actually, I think we sometimes call things procrastination that aren’t procrastination…they’re more like letting dough rise, or red wine age in a bottle or tomatoes ripen on the vine.
We get so caught up in schedules and productivity and speed. We believe that multitasking is good, and we forget that sometimes there is a sequence that we just have to let things unfold.
Maybe we need to be different in order to be ready. Maybe something else needs to fall into place, or needs time to get to us. Sometimes we are waiting for the world to be ready. Sometimes we are thinking and processing at a subconscious level. All of these things are like ripening on the vine.
There’s nothing wrong with productivity – I’m all for it, and I’m a hugely productive person. But ripening is a form of productivity!
How do we know the difference between ripening and procrastinating?
I think the answer is in our inner wisdom, and that we have to rely on our gut or our intuition to tell us.
If you’re not as in tune to your intuition as you’d like to be, then you can use your emotions as indicators.
If you think you might be procrastinating, ask the question “is now the right time?” and see what kind of answer or emotions you get. Notice I didn’t say to ask “should I do this now?” or “what will happen if I don’t do it now?” – those are the wrong questions to ask.
“Should I…” will often take you into the land of other people’s expectations and timelines and usually leave you stranded in a pile of guilt. “What will happen if..” sends your brain on a mission to look for primarily unpleasant consequences.
There’s lots of evidence of “divine” timing – so many times when the exact right thing that is needed to complete a task or a project just shows up. That’s evidence of unfolding.
And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!