My friend, procrastination

That "Aha!" moment

‘Stop procrastinating!’... Well, that was an ambitious item for the list!

And I don’t think it’ll be a surprise when I admit that it’s one of the challenges I’ve struggled to get on with the most. In fact, what you won’t realise is that there are far fewer incomplete items on the list than it may appear - for I just haven’t quite managed to knuckle down and write up my experience of a number of them.

So my challenge to overcome procrastination has almost been left until last, yet seems the most needed challenge of them all!

Now, without intending to procrastinate even more, before I share some of the really helpful techniques my research into the topic has yielded, I would first like to share a slightly controversial standpoint…

Procrastination has its benefits.

I know, I know - if anything, such a statement is going to further encourage the behaviour! But bear with me on this one, as I’m not going to excuse all forms of procrastination, and this wisdom might just help you tackle a task better.

You see, research shows that when you leave something incomplete, it actually stays active at the back of your mind. And whilst it’s doing so, you’re going about your daily life - carrying out other tasks and taking in all sorts of seemingly unrelated stimuli.

This additional time your mind has to mull over the task, applying thinking from other activities (‘divergent thinking’ as the experts call it), can actually mean that when you do finally tackle the task, your solution is much more creative than it might’ve otherwise been.

It makes sense right? Slow things down, subject yourself to all sorts of other ‘outside the box’ stimuli and allow your clever subconscious to kick in - and you’ll come up with a much more rounded, imaginative answer.

However, here’s the caveat. In order to benefit from this ‘slowing things down’, you have to first start the task. You have to get those cogs in motion so your working memory can kick in. So if you’re a chronic procrastinator who struggles to even get started, I’m afraid you won’t find any vindication here.

Stay tuned though, because those ‘really helpful’ techniques are on their way next time…

In the meantime, do you have any ways you manage to tackle procrastination?

(Part one of two, read the next installment here. Go on, I share those really helpful techniques for overcoming procrastination...)

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