Trust Your Procrastination

I often don’t start tasks right away, but I’m not a procrastinator. Traditional wisdom would have us believe that delaying even in the slightest on starting a project is automatically avoidance.

But what about the times when its not? Starting early in 2012 I knew I needed to find a new support person for my business. I had a project labeled in my new Evernote system inspired by David Allen in Getting Things Done. I thought about it quite a bit but couldn’t seem to take action on it.

Cut to the week before Memorial Day weekend. One of the women in my Mentoring Program was let go from her day job. This is someone who I’ve known for several years in a variety of capacities. I’d always been struck by her wisdom, impressive writing ability, and witty sense of humor.

In one fell swoop I got the memo from the ether to ask her if she wanted to come work for me. I knew I could pay her more than she was making at her previous job, that she understood my business and brand, and that she would probably have more fun working for me than for the company who let her get away.

So she said yes and my business has blossomed ever since. Among her many virtues are that Kathleen sees a bigger vision for my brand and me than I do, she thinks of ways to improve our products and services, she gives me honest, constructive feedback, and she over-delivers. I know my business is safe in her arms and I trust her to do the right thing. This kind of support has shifted my sense of possibility and safety on a cellular level. Because of bringing Kathleen on board I’m thinking bigger than I’ve ever thought before, but with a stronger foundation so my visions actually feel completely doable.

Had I gone out and mounted a campaign to find the perfect support person for my company back in January when I had the thought to do it I wouldn’t have gotten Kathleen. The minute I heard she’d lost her other job I simply knew I wanted to work with her. No application, resumé, or interview required. That’s the beauty of intuition. She doesn’t need references.

Next time you aren’t starting a project and you’re not quite sure why, try trusting yourself instead of beating yourself up. Labeling yourself a procrastinator just makes you feel bad and, whether its true or not, is not going to help you take action. There are rare times when we can beat ourselves up enough to get ourselves to change in lasting ways. Love is usually a way better avenue.

Intuition sometimes likes to dress up as procrastination. She’s sneaky that way. She tip-toes around a task, sniffs it, turns it over a few times, perhaps makes a spreadsheet or list or two, then saunters away with a smirk on her face. She knows that more information is coming, that the time is not now, and that you’ll thank her for not starting when you find out the reason for the delay.

Some days you don’t start the book, don’t pick up the phone, don’t answer the email, don’t set the meeting, and don’t implement the strategy. Some days less is more. We have no way of consciously being aware of the myriad information available to us at all times. Luckily, our intuition has us covered. She’s not trying to delay your gratification or your progress. She’s simply looking out for you.

Is procrastination always intuition in a masquerade? No. Sometimes you’re just plain scared. I didn’t get Hay House a sample chapter and outline for my first book until four months after they asked for it. It wasn’t my intuition. I was just scared. But I loved myself in spite of my fear instead of making myself wrong and I got it all done in 24 hours when I was finally ready to put myself out there.

Trust your procrastination. She’s got some wisdom for you. She’s telling you there’s more information on its way. She’s whispering that your perfect new hire still has a few weeks at their current job before you can scoop them up. Sometimes she’s telling you that you’re scared.

She’s NOT telling you that you’re a bad person, a screw up, a slouch, or lazy. She’s NOT telling you to get it together, buck up, muscle through, or (wom)an up.

Procrastination only shows up when you need her. She’s a trusted friend, a confidante, and your girlfriend who has your back no matter what. Trust her. Listen to her. Get curious when she shows up.

Your procrastination is wise. Listen up when she shows up.

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25 comments

  • This is a fantastic post! Thank you soooooo’ much. Just wanted I needed to hear right now. I’m constantly beating myself up for ‘so called’ procrastination but now I feel more empowered to look at it in a different way and ask those questions.

    Is it intuition and I don’t have all the information yet, or am I just plain scared?

    So fantastic, so much better than thinking I’m undisciplined and lacking focus.

    Much luv to you.

    Peace out ♥

  • I loved this post. I have long felt this way, that procrastination was most often my soul finding perfect timing. The moment to step into the current of any creation must (in me) come from inspiration.

    Being able to decipher fear and flip it into it’s beautiful twin, excitement is part of the dance that’s needed in me to recognize all the subtleties happening in every moment.

    Thank you, Kate, for your clear voice and heart. I’m grateful.
    Valerie

  • Holly Lewry

    Thank you Kate – this is a very insightful post!

  • Thanks Kate! So true. When we push too hard, we often force the future rather than letting it unfold.
    Thank you for the reminder!!!
    Rebekah

  • sooooooooo helpful, thank you. like the way you see and describe things upside down.

  • Nobody ever says this! Well…except you and another very wise spiritual teacher. First time I heard this, I almost fell over. What?! You mean I’m not an awful person, a terrible foot-dragger??? You mean there’s such a thing as Divine Timing? You mean my gut knows something my head hasn’t figured out yet? Thanks for reminding me. Maybe I’ll give myself a little less of a hard time about this.

    And look…I commented right away…because I couldn’t not! xoxox

  • Linda Neeb

    Kate, This is so true. So glad you posted it.
    When i was getting ready to sell my house a few years ago i kept putting off the dates for listing it. Part of it was i wasn’t quite ready to let go, and now i know a Big part of it was my intuition telling me to wait. The day i decided to list it in the paper,: For Sale by Owner, someone knocked on my door and asked me if i would ever consider selling my house. Talk about the Universe responding. It was amazing. I sold my house to Gary for the exact price i was asking and it didnt cost me a penny for advertising. ( it turned out his grandkids were in the neighborhood and he had been thinking about asking me for months. Amazing how he chose the very day i decided to put it in the paper. It worked for both of us.

  • Kate: I love this post! It gives me permission to listen to my gut! And you are spot-on about Kathleen as a person and in her skills and talents! Yes, I love to read what she writes, I love to know she is “doing it” as in taking care of business, I love her outcomes! AND she is really smart and really beautiful! “This is her mother speaking” and I am soooo very proud of her! What a blessing for her to be working with YOU! g

  • Kate! This is the GREATEST advice. I remember you writing about this a couple of weeks ago, and I cannot get it out of my head!

    I often put things off forever and then finish them, brilliantly, in one fell swoop. Ever since you first posted about this, I have been more accepting of this aspect of my creative process. And lemme just say, it feels great!

    Adoringly,
    Kara

  • Yes, yes, yes! Love this wisdom about procrastination, Kate. And the reminder that beating ourselves up just isn’t a good choice. I have been sniffing around my new website copy for a few weeks now. Lo and behold, today I sat down and wrote it in one fell swoop. Intuition had done her thing, and it was time. Congratulations to both you and Kathleen — I’m sure it will be a great team.

  • Kate, this is brilliant and so appropriate for where I am right now. I have been cultivating a practice in patience and self-compassion and love for this place right here, this “procrastinator” that just will not move when I want it to. And reading your words brings it to a light of validation and value. Thank you!

  • Hi Kate – Wow what a brilliant post – It is perfect for where I am right now – running one very successful business that goes from strength to strength but also having the immense desire to create another business which I know will be successful but PROCRASTINATION is my bestie friend in that process – Yes, I am like the gal a couple of listings above – leave things to the last minute but when it does finally happen it is brilliant beyond anything – creative people have different ways of running a business and if you have the focus you’ll get there but in the process of getting there many paths stand in your way and if you embrace them and move through them the result is like no other.
    I now love Procrastination as before it was consumed with guilt and “loser” mentality – I love my new bestie friend Procrastination. Thank you for writing the article.

  • Fiona Howe

    Thank you Kate! This is part of being compassionate with ourselves…I struggle with this still…but your words are a great reminder and relief!! :)

  • Anne Buhlig McGuffey

    Kate, your post comes in absolute perfect timing, of course. I love how you speak of procrastination like a wise Goddess. Beautiful and affirming…thank you!

  • Love your perspective on this, Kate! It’s such a great reminder not to rush things because divine timing is everything. I am definitely known for beating myself up when I feel that there’s not enough time and/or I’m not doing enough/getting things done fast enough. It’s words like yours that help me take a step back and realize that all is well and as it should be. Thank you for this.

  • Kathleen Herriott

    Kate, I absolutely love your style in every way! This article is genious!
    I feel like you have you have your finger on the plus of people and know exactly what they need to be revived. Thank you for all you do.

  • A perfectly fresh way to look at an age old response. Thanks for a great post!

  • Thank you so much for writing this! I really beat myself up sometimes for not getting my to do list done. I scrap them, I write new ones, I’ve been known to have 3 different lists on my desk and two more on my laptop. But sometimes life happens and I ignore them for a week, only to come back and find that I’ve accomplished everything on them anyways. Or the things I needed to do that didn’t get done are no longer relevant anymore. This totally shifts my relationship with my procrastination and I appreciate it.

  • Hi Kate!
    I love this post and the wisdom you have shared here. I had an experience earlier this year which proved to me that so-called procrastination is often driven by the deep knowing within us to wait (as you did) for all of the pieces to align. I was asked to write an on-line course for DailyOM and thought I knew exactly what it would be about. Ha! I began to re-work a previous course I’d written and could not continue. I spent 2 weeks “asking” for new subject material and finally, in one huge Download, it all arrived. If I had pushed myself past my own silence into action before I had the new information, my course would not be the one I’d hoped for!
    Love,
    Anita

  • Terrific post–chanelled straight from the gods no doubt. :) The modern world is so hectic and the evolved being so multidimensional that there is NO WAY to track what info is IN and what is STILL COMING.

    I often find that I beat myself up for two weeks leading up to a blog deadline for “not doing anything” only to discover when I finally arrive at that blank page three days out–that the concepts and information were being retrieved during all that time that “nothing was being done” –preparing me to sit down and write it. My gen-ideas come in during self-care days!

    Try as I might to TRUST this process (as it is so predictable now!) I still doubt myself and become frustrated. Reading your post today affirms for me the genius and intuition in this. Thanks for that!! xo

  • This is SO awesome. Thank you Kate!

  • Claudia

    This is brilliant. I am all together replacing procrastination with something more appropriate like researching or testing. What a stroke of genius darling.

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