9 reasons why procrastinating works

did you hear? it's fitbook’s 9th birthday. and on my long to-do list this past week was “write a blog.” but not just any blog; something insightful, meaningful, and worthy of my baby’s b-day. you know those moms who stress over throwing the most elaborate, perfect birthday party, complete with grosgrain ribbon-wrapped cake pops, hand-lettered invitations, and a fairytale-like little pony…for a 2-year old?? well, that would be me. but it’s for a book. albeit, my life’s work + thus far my passion-driven purpose in life, but still…my baby is a (fit)book.

walking home from the coffee shop last week, fretting over what to blog about for fitbook’s 9th birthday, my sweet friendployee on the other end of the phone yelled quite emphatically: “fitbook won’t remember what you did for its birthday!!!” after wiping away the tears from laughing so hard, i couldn’t help but chuckle at the truth behind the conversation; about what drives my incessant need each year to one-up the previous years’ birthday celebrations.

and yet, we’re on day 9 of my beloved’s birthday – and no blog. (well, until now – clearly.) but as of 10:52am, i was just staring at a blank screen. but rather than share my favorite 9 moments from the past 9 years (because, seriously…how do i narrow it down to just 9?) or my top 9 tips for starting a business (that’s a work in progress), i'd rather share something relatable + real, because that’s how i roll.

so here, my friends, is a list 9 reasons why putting things off works. i personally put the “pro” in procrastination – i've done this for 9 years (actually, my entire life) and so far, so good. so, without further ado (and delay), here are 9 reasons to procrastinate. read on - or bookmark it and read it later...

1) procrastination prioritizes.
let’s be real, i could’ve written this blog any day, but that would’ve meant that i had to put off finalizing our marketing strategy for launching 4 new products next week, or delay pulling together the final layout for a passion project of mine that needed to go to print like yesterday to launch in october, and stop working on a potentially game-changing sales deal. yes, i put this off – but procrastination can serve a purpose in the natural selection of priorities.

2) procrastination drives perfection.
some argue that procrastination is a “symptom” of perfectionism, insinuating that it’s in some way a disease or something. what i find fascinating is that our society expects perfection, while at the same time shaming those who strive for it. i know i'm a perfectionist and that doesn’t mean i think perfect is possible – it means that i give my all, all the time. i know i have the tendency to want control over circumstances (note: avoiding the label “control freak” here), but it’s because i care so darn much about the impact, the outcome, and the influence. my delay in writing this wasn’t because my words i'm publishing now are perfect – it’s because i care that much that i write something that matters.

3) it boosts creativity.
anytime i have a product i'm creating or a project that i'm developing or a blog i'm delaying, it’s on my mind. like literally, i have these visions of the pages and words in my mind at the most random moments. research shows that through the process of putting off a project, your mind is actually working out the details in the delay. take our fitdesk calendar for example: i pitched it to walgreens with just the cover and one sample day mocked up. months later i got the purchase order and i literally had 2 weeks to create a 365-day product. same thing with our fitspiration journal…knocked that motivational little goal getter out in like 3 weeks tops. yes, there were lots of sleepless nights + gallons of coffee, but in those moments i was on creativity cloud 9.

4) it’s an effective house-cleaner.
now, hear me out. when i (really) don’t want to do something – or my mind just isn’t in the right creative space to do it – i literally will find anything else to do. this ability to distract myself has been responsible for many organization projects, random acts of housecleaning, and serious episodes of sorting stuff. call it whatever you want, but it works.

5) procrastinating delays decisions.
while this may seem inherently bad, procrastinating gives your mind the time to consider all options. yes, there’s a happy medium between spontaneity and indecisiveness, but research shows that by delaying decisions, you’re better able to process all alternatives. the key here is making sure you have a drop-dead deadline. for example, today is the last day of fitbook’s 9th birthday celebration, so if i chose not to write this today, then it meant it wasn’t that important after all. (but, I decided it was...at the last minute.)

6) pressure may be a motivator.
in a recent conversation with a business mentor, probably after a really long rant of mine rambling on about who knows what, he waited for me to stop talking long enough to say, “angela, have you ever considered that this stress is what drives you?” i laughed – because he was right. as much as stress gets a bad rap, often times that pressure of the deadline and the inherent stress it creates is the very thing motivating factor that drives results.

7) it gives you perspective.
sometimes we are so hasty in making decisions and moving projects forward that we don’t stop long enough to process. procrastination can also be a form of patience, which brings clarity (often at the most inopportune times). i am fairly certain that i had my most brilliant epiphany the other day in spin class – with absolutely no way of jotting down what could have been a life-changing idea. but here’s the thing: if it was really THAT brilliant, i would’ve remembered it. the best ideas and projects and decisions are those that rise to the surface – the ones you can’t NOT move forward with; those that you forget were probably best left forgotten. procrastination gives you perspective and allows you the time + space to decipher between the two.

8) sometimes it’s your gut.
have you ever put off something and you just didn’t know why? and later, it turned out that it was a good thing you didn’t do it after all? sometimes – more often than not – i've put things off that later on, i realized it was my intuition, my gut, and probably more than likely God, guiding me. when i decide to move on something and it feels “off”, for whatever reason, i've learned to step back and give it time because i've never regretted going with my gut.

9) sometimes the best comes last.
it’s sorta like this: you always find something the last place you look. (well, duh.) but truly, i think of procrastinating (especially ideas) as a way to sift through the rubbish until i land on the right one. with ideas, decisions, and dating (quite frankly), why settle for fine when fabulous is still out there? yes, procrastinating takes time. and it may drive others around you crazy. but in due time, perhaps others will see that there’s a method to your madness; that the end result was absolutely worth waiting for. fitbook wasn’t my first idea – and heaven knows it’s not my last – but 9 years later i can tell you that i'm grateful that this is the one that stuck.

are you a procrastinator? or a perfectionist? well, welcome to the club. but for one moment, is it okay to just stop and say, “by golly, this is just who i am.”? i get so tired of being told i should eat more of this, work out with more of that, do this before 5am, and do that to be a success. bah, stop already!!! it’s too much. sometimes, i think it’s okay to just say, “yes, i'm a work in progress” (we all are), but (using one of mom’s favorite words in the english-slash-honkey-tonk language) dadgummit, i am perfectly + wonderfully made…just as i am.

with love,
your fashionably-late chief fitlosopher


2 Responses

Katharine Parker
Katharine Parker

July 20, 2018

Glad I didnt “put off” reading this post!


August 09, 2017

Great post! Procrastinator and perfectionist here too and perfectly fine with it! Happy 9th Birthday to your baby! You gotta go really big next year for the double digits. :-)

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