Why You Should Trust Your Procrastination

Why You Should 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 it’s not?

I signed the contract to write my next book in April of 2017. I started writing in earnest in October, 5 months later.

I needed the months in between to marinate. I needed the book to appear. I needed to know what the heck I wanted to talk about and to go through about 4 different iterations of it before I knew where I wanted to land.

Had I sat down and “powered through” right when the deal was signed, I would have spent days writing pages that ended up in the trash. Lots of wasted time. Lots of wasted energy.

I believe in deadlines, and 9 times out of 10 I hit them. Often early. I don’t believe in frittering away your time and making others wait for you (because that’s just disrespectful of them and their time),

But the creative process also takes as long as it takes. Just like the first trimester in pregnancy when we form all of the organs of a human being but we don’t even look pregnant yet, there is tremendous value in the time when it looks like nothing is happening but important things are brewing under the surface.

Our culture has a tendency to want to rush through this time or to skip it all together, but without it our creations lack roots, and they crumble at the first gust of wind.

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 it’s true or not, is not going to help you take action. We cannot beat ourselves up enough to get ourselves to change in lasting ways. Love is usually a way better avenue.

Why You Should Trust Your Procrastination

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 and stuck, and what you really need to do is bust through the resistance and just take some kind of action. If you’ve been in the same place for a really long time despite desiring to move forward in your life, this may apply to you.

Otherwise, 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. She knows that the book idea is still in formation and she doesn’t want you to waste your time writing pages and pages only to scrap them.

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 (wo)man 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.

OVER TO YOU:

Have you ever thought you were procrastinating only to realize that it was really your intuition knowing the ideal timing better than you? Tell me about it in the comments!

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8 comments

  • Hi Kate,
    So many of us, especially women, beat themselves up over procrastinating. I know I do and continue to wonder what is wrong with me… “Why can’t I move forward on this ‘thing’ that means so much to me??” “Come on God…! Everyone else seems to know what to do next and get er done!”
    It’s only when something else appears or takes its place that I understand the divine timing of the universe or that ‘thing’ wasn’t something I needed to focus on anymore – it served its purpose and it’s time to move on to something else. It’s happening to me right now actually. When I just wanted to hang up my boots in complete frustration with my current biz, a new biz landed in my lap all wrapped up and shiny waiting to be launched…
    Divine timing sometimes = procrastination.
    Great post Kate. Perfect timing! :)
    All my love,
    Kristin Morris

  • This so landed for me and put a lot more kindness around the thoughts I have when I just do not seem to have the urge to get on. I find that especially true with big projects like the one you used as an example. And you are so right, that is the way the creative project works. Would be so interested in thoughts about stuff one just plain does not like having to get done, e.g.conquering paper clutter. Read all sorts about that one, quite a collection of books on organization and here I am in my sixties and cannot say any of them have really worked – at least not for long. Thanks Kate. Great blog!

  • Thank you for this!!!! I’ve kept putting off a project that I was hoping to launch months ago. I’ve been beyond beating myself up but now that I think of it, what I’ve learned in the past few months will make for much better results once the project is ready.

  • Thank you Kate! I really needed this. I’ve been back and forth with accepting the fact it’s time to hang with my daughter before she is off to school in September, and hustling in my biz. I’m still prepping and creating content and strategy, but now isn’t the time for it to drop. September is my time! …and it will be amazing!

  • Maria

    Thank you for this article. I actually have just started writing for an online magazine, and the process for me writing these articles was exactly what you just wrote about. I have been writing in my journals since I was 12… and I am my worst critic, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to write , I thought why not. The old demons came back, and I was continuously second guessing myself.
    Well I “procrastinated” a few weeks before deadline, and when it came down to crunch time… one morning my fingers just began flying off the keyboard and the words presented themselves for my article. Meanwhile, I was beating myself up trying to examine why I was procrastinating! Thank you again for this article!

  • Maxine

    Thank you for this incite. I have been procrastinating my entire life and have been wondering why everyone else seemed to have life working on a more organised level and getting a lot more done ,while I didn’t seemed to be going anywhere. I was asked lately when was i going to start my business up. I didn’t have an answer. But I realise that my business are my healing hands and my voice that I use daily. My healing room has never taken off the ground in a physical manner but I live my life using my gifts each day. So maybe
    Being in my community just being me is my business. Things show up when I need them people arrive when I need them. I now see that I can get things done when the time is divinely guided..maybe procrastinating is a natural way of being and listening to your own inner knowing and intuition. Gratitude..as I have believed that I was stuck and couldn’t figure out why I didnt have a place of busniss.my children have all moved out recently and I fined I have time to just nurture me . Which feels good and exciting I feel now is a time for exploring and seeing what gives me joy. I have droped the barriers I am now willing to receive and the people are showing up in my life to contribute it’s amazing. All in divine time..

  • Olga

    Love it. So much resonate with me. I knew there is reason I always pull myself back a little bit before taking action. Thank you Kate

  • This spoke directly to my soul. Thank you ❤️

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