March 10, 2021
Q&A 025

⧴ Delay

I often have a hard time starting with important projects. The urgent ones take care of themselves (hurray for deadlines) but the important-non-urgent ones can spook me for weeks or months before they get the attention they deserve.

I guess I am not the only one with this apparent deficiency, which is probably why almost half of all written self-help-books and productivity YouTube video's seem to try and tackle the subject. Earlier we spent some words on creating external accountability, which is still one of my favourite techniques. Promising someone an outcome, setting an appointment, all tricks to make the important into something urgent (time-bound) at some point.

To help (or to complicate matters even further, depending on your worldview) getting a balanced view on procrastination, Boris Veldhuizen van Zanten wrote a heartfelt love letter on the benefits of procrastination.

He makes the case that while we are procrastinating, there is actually more going on than just 'doing nothing' and delaying action. As you have started thinking about an outcome, you're mentally preparing, having ideas, considering and evaluating implementation.

The wonderful analogy he came up with is 'marinating your food', which looks like nothing, but is actually the laying of a foundation for a successful meal. He urges us to find comfort in procrastination and not feel guilty about it. You're just marinating.

For me, as with all balanced solutions, the challenge now lies in finding wisdom when to use which approach.