To do or not to do? Procrastinate….

Procrastinate by all means if you have to. Do not act impulsively. Be creative. Never lose hope.

My message

This is my message for today. For me, these sentences send the same message and are deeply interconnected.  Our lives are quite long, a marathon rather than a sprint. Opportunities and threats come and go. Sometimes we need to react immediately, but these occasions are pretty rare. Getting an extra 10% discount is not worth a chance of buying something you do not need. If we are consistent, a new opportunity will come up eventually.

I decided to write this article after my friend told me: “What evil? The evil of procrastination.” With all due respect, procrastination is not evil, it can be instrumental if used correctly,

The strangest lecture from a boss

Several years ago my boss and mentor took me aside and gave me the following lecture (you might have already seen it in my posts):

“In life, there are soldiers and officers. The officers should be smart and lazy, and the soldiers should be stupid and industrious. Otherwise, there will be chaos”.

If you are procrastinating, maybe you are management material.

Strategy and tactics

There is a great difference between strategy and tactics. Tactics are all about achieving your goals effectively. The strategy is all about moving in the right direction.

If you choose a direction in which you can go because certain goals can be achieved very effectively, you might not like where your path takes you. You might not like it anyway, but then you will understand very well what lead you there.

Fight the urge

Our current culture is driven by consumerism. It is much easier for the salesmen and for their clients if the decisions do not take a lot of time. Impulsive decisions can lead you to buy products and services you do not need. Great for the economy, not so great for you.

Spending your time learning something new is very similar to spending your money. You should see a clear return on investment. If your ability to make money or to be happy does not increase, you may have different criteria for satisfaction. In any case, you should be damn sure what you buy.

Explore the alternatives

If you procrastinate and cannot make a decision, you do not have to be passive. You may gather some background information, explore alternatives, consider the situation from different perspectives and consider allies you may recruit.

Quite often we procrastinate because we need some strategic leverage or a tactical opportunity to make the right decision. Maybe all you need is a better deal or a fuller understanding of how this specific asset integrates in your greater plan.

Leverage your procrastination

Procrastination as a chose strategy offers certain benefits:

  • Your focus and energy are free to pursue other goals.
  • The creative juices are flowing and you may come up with a better idea.
  • Some extra time allows for gathering resources.
  • Waiting for a  better opportunity we might actually find a better opportunity.

The stopping rule

Like everything else, procrastination should come with stopping rules. If you wait too much you will eventually miss everything. You need to create your own rulebook, but there are som good ideas.

Suppose you are dating. You feel OK to date 100 women before you marry. Then you should not be serious in your first 36 dates. After that, if you find a woman better than the first 36 ladies you met, by all means, do marry her.

A window of opportunity

Most deals come with a window of opportunity. Consider a trip abroad. If you try to book it a year in advance nobody will sell you tickets. Between 12 and say 6 months before the trip you will be able to book a great deal. You may procrastinate within that time period. Then the best deals will be gone and the prices will go up. This means you procrastinated too long.

Each opportunity comes with a certain time window. By all means, you can procrastinate at first, but never procrastinate when the window is about to close.

Loving you is a losing game

Some games are not worth playing. If procrastination comes from a genuine concern, maybe it is best to avoid the entire idea. Not all risks come with an adequate premium for the risk, and not all people are sensitive to the same things. You might be better off avoiding something that will eventually disappoint you.  At the very least, try to consult someone you trust before making the steps that may lead to heartbreak.

There is time for everything

Take your time if you have too, just be careful when you do. To finish the article I will quote the wise book:

To every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

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