Procrastination as a force for good? You decide…

Stop the ride!  I want to get off!  Do you sometimes feel that life is like a race, and that you are hurrying to do everything, to be all things to all people, to get to the bottom of the to-do list?  What effect does rushing to complete tasks have on you?  What happens when something gets in your way, or things don’t go to plan?  Do you have a strategy or do you become frustrated?

We live in an age which is increasingly focused on instant gratification and results.  Advances in technology are partly responsible for this.  We can get pretty much anything we want, straight away, at the touch of a button: information, answers, goods and services delivered in a flash.  We make ourselves available 24/7 on mobile devices, which encourages the expectation of instant responses.  The result of this 100-miles-per-hour culture can be the discarding of our own reflective practice.

Or is the culture of quick solutions a force for good?  It can make us appear more efficient in our jobs, help us to move faster towards our goals, make us happy and fulfilled… or does it?

I’ve blogged before about procrastination.  It can hold you back.  But what if procrastination could be a good thing; what if we “re-branded” procrastination as patience?  I believe it could work.  Clearly, there are times when urgent action is required, and neither procrastination or patience would be the right choice, but, if you can, why not choose to remove yourself (physically if necessary) from a situation, to think, reflect, breathe and wait?

I always promote individual choice to my life-coaching clients, and I’d suggest that patience is another choice you can make.  You can also choose how you employ that patience.  Patience can be active or passive, and the choice of state will depend on the situation.

Active patience:

  • thinking long and hard: taking your time and enjoying the journey towards new and creative ideas and solutions
  • biding your time; knowing what to do, and just allowing yourself to choose the perfect moment to act, making that action the most effective it could be

Passive patience

  • detaching yourself; doing something different in order to free your mind and having the confidence that the answer will come
  • creating a mental filing cabinet for those long-term issues, which may, or may not be solvable by you, or by your actions

In our quest to find solutions quickly, in our life’s race, we are in danger of missing the beautiful scenery along the way, of being creative, of being effective in our actions.   To paraphrase the comment from the tortoise in Aesop’s fable The Hare and the Tortoise, “Slow and steady wins the race”.  We could do worse than take a leaf from that wise reptile’s book.

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About Marianna Beckwith