Bloganuary #27

What are the pros and cons of procrastination?

All the dictionary definitions of “procrastination” have negative or harmful connotations. Whilst it is certainly ‘bad’ just to avoid doing something distasteful or to want to let an issue just get forgotten, I don’t think that it is always right to just jump straight in without giving something due consideration. That may be considering the potential outcome of your proposed action or it may be allowing time for others (who may need more time) to express their opinions so that you can obtain real consensus – such people’s opinions may even change your mind.

I admit that I used to always just jump into something with both feet and assume that as no one else was immediately disagreeing, I must be right and they all agreed. However, as I have got older I start to appreciate the advantage of some delay in certain situations. It is hard for me, but having been in a group of people where the same person is always the one putting themselves forward immediately, when I know that there are other people more suited to the particular task and/or we need to just slow down a bit, give everyone the chance to put their ideas forward and sometimes this results in a much better outcome that is acceptable to more people.

The first step is to acknowledge that you have a tendency to just plunge forward and drag everyone along behind you.

Then you have to be a little patient and learn to wait (which is sometimes very hard), but it is surprising how many times when you all just sit there quietly that someone you didn’t necessarily expect comes forward with a good idea.

We all have different characteristics – introverts, extroverts and those who really just can’t be bothered – and sometimes allowing a question to ‘float in the air’ is what is required in order to obtain the best outcome even if it is not immediately what you want.

I have always been told that I can be “careless” even from the reports when I was a child. So now if I can, I may write the answer to that letter or e-mail immediately but I don’t send it until at least the following day and it is amazing when you read back your own words much later because sometimes you are surprised by quite how good and cogent your reasoning is and at other times you read your work to just fall back and groan at some of the silly mistakes that you’ve made. I’m now much more assured and happy to let other people take the lead, whilst watching out for those who would obviously like to say something, but just aren’t quick enough.







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