Watch the movie Gone with the Wind and you’ll see one of Scarlett O’Hara’s favorite phrases is, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” While she may look fancy saying it, good ol’ Scarlett is really just procrastinating!
Of course, Scarlett accomplished a whole lot during that movie, so procrastination might have worked out OK for her. But what about you? Can you ever benefit from procrastinating?
After all, the general consensus is procrastinating makes you lazy. It proves you have no sense of direction. It means you’re not organized.
But hang on a minute.
Let’s take a look at some well-known phrases – like “haste makes waste”, “think before you speak”, and “when in doubt, do nothing”. Aren’t these just really clever ways of procrastinating? Yet, they’re all considered words of wisdom.
So, what’s the deal?
Putting things off can be a good thing, when you do it the right way. For example, some people put off making a decision or taking action until they can gather more information. That way, when they do make a decision, they’re confident it’s the right one.
Sounds pretty smart, right?
That’s why “sleeping on it” is considered to be so wise. You’re taking the time you need to make a smart decision. If you don’t “sleep on it”, you may act irrationally or impulsively and make a big mistake!
Now, let’s take it one step further. Let’s say you put off making a decision so you can get more information. As a result, you wind up with a tighter deadline. In order to meet it, you have to be even more organized and disciplined than the guy who didn’t take all of that extra time gathering information.
When you look at it that way, procrastinating can be a great way to learn how to work under pressure!
The key, though, is to procrastinate temporarily. If you simply use this reasoning as a way to never make a decision or accomplish anything, you’re not benefitting from procrastination. Instead, you’re being held back by it.
The best procrastinators are the ones who call a “time out” to assess everything. Then, once they have all the facts, they get to work – and they work hard. They eliminate the negatives and the distractions and work towards their goal.
Like anything else, procrastination can be a valuable tool, as long as you know how to use it to your advantage. So, the next time someone tells you that your procrastination is a bad thing, remind them that it can actually be a good thing. After all, Gone with the Wind ends with Scarlett exclaiming, “Tomorrow is another day!”