When I first read the title of the book “Procrastinate on Purpose” by Rory Vaden I will admit it took my breath away. I am a self proclaimed procrastinator. Could this book be the answer to why I always wait until the last minute to do things? For example, I waited until the night before in college to write that paper or study for that test. I wrote this post an hour before my deadline.
However I am married to a planner not a procrastinator. He has his day planned to the minute. I am a bit jealous. But then I realize he is not the one planning and making dinner. He isn’t the one that the kids call when sick. He is the one they call and ask for money to be transferred into their account. I love being the parent they call because they are sick or need something brought to school that they forgot, but it does throw my day for a loop. Because I have been the parent with the flexible schedule I have designed my days around the unexpected emergencies. I always leave room for something that needs to be done at the last minute. But now I only have one child left at home and the emergencies are few and my excuses to procrastinate are ending. But my procrastinating skills remain.
According to this book it is ok to procrastinate but only after you have gone through a sort of vetting process. Vaden lays the process out in his book step by step, but some of my favorite steps are Eliminate, Delegate and Procrastinate.
Eliminate: Too often we find ourselves doing things we really don’t need to be doing. He quotes the French writer Antoine de Saint Exupery; “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Take a minute and think about it. Work on your to do list so that is so lean and mean that the only thing left are things that you, and only you can do. I have taken many things off of my list that I use to do. I use to go through our mail every day. This was a time suck for me. Now my husband does it and he can accomplish it in minutes, whereas I would get distracted and it could easily take me 45 minutes. Which leads me to the next step.
Delegate: This is my favorite thing to do. I have a friend that we call Tom Sawyer. She is always passing off her work to her friends and family. She will have you come over and while you are there you may get talked into hanging lights on her house while precariously balanced on a ladder. So often we think we need to do everything ourselves. Rarely is this true. So often we fill our days with tasks that can be done by other people. Or if you are like me you don’t think anyone can do it as well as you can. Sure nobody is going to be perfect. But what a gift of time you give yourself if you realize that you can hire a virtual assistant to write your newsletter. Or that once a week someone else can make dinner.
Procrastinate: Finally after you go through all of Vaden’s steps you learn that it is important to know not just what to do and how much to do, but also when to do it. Sometimes you have to say no. Sometimes you have to wait. Sometimes you have to procrastinate. This does not mean that you get a pass and get to say no to everything. Vaden stresses that time allows for ideas to simmer and incubate. We need to have our relationships develop and we need to mature before we can make things happen. We don’t just open a store, we take certain steps before we can hang that open for business sign.
So this week during the business of the holidays, walk yourself through the three steps of Eliminate, Delegate or Procrastinate. See if some of the stress lifts from your body. See if anyone missed you not making the special cookies that take hours to prepare. Ask your sister to bring a side dish to a holiday meal. And most importantly procrastinate and say no.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!