Leadership & Personal Development Blog Series
Have you procrastinated before? I know I have, many times. Sometimes I procrastinated because I chose to do so, and other times I procrastinated because I was unable to start or complete a particular task not by choice, or at least I thought so. That’s why I believe that there are at least two types of procrastination that many of us had practiced or observed before – intentional and unintentional.
What is intentional procrastination?
Intentional procrastination is the most obvious type and the most visible. We can generally tell when someone is procrastinating, because, they choose to do so, and it is usually due to lack of desire to complete a particular talk or assignment (ex. not completing homework due to taking on another activity such as playing video games or spending time outside). In this situation, we choose not to do our homework because we’ve made a conscious decision to play video games or go outside, in hopes of completing assignments given at a later time. We all know how the rest of the story goes, we play video games until it is way too late and go to bed to get few hours of sleep before it is time to get up and get ready for the next day. Homework usually does not get completed and, in turn, we get in trouble at school/university with our teacher/professor, or even worse, we fail a test, which results in a poor grade. I know that these particular examples are centered around school work, however, these examples could also be applied anywhere else – work, business, etc.
This is one of the obvious examples of intentional procrastination, where we make a choice not to do something at this time, and instead put it on the backburner.
What is unintentional procrastination?
Unintentional procrastination is when even though you may have a desire to complete a particular task now, but due to specific circumstances unable to or unwilling to do so.
Example of unintentional procrastination could be desire to publish a blog post or podcast episode, however, due to lack of internet or PC or both, you are unable to do so right away, and having to delay publishing until the next day, or until you have what needed to accomplish this task. Many would label this as lack of resources with present desire. However, could you find a way to publish a blog or podcast even though you may not have all resources or tools needed? I think so. Everything boils down to having strong enough desire and willingness to act despite minor roadblocks. If you do not have the tools needed, perhaps you know someone who does, and you can reach out to them for assistance. If you are traveling on business, and don’t have internet or fast enough Wifi in your room, there’s always internet available in the hotel lobby that you should be able to use. There are ways to accomplish a task, you just have to want it bad enough.
Is procrastination always bad?
Not necessarily. Sometimes procrastination could lead to greater discoveries or more complete results. I am not saying that procrastination should be utilized on the regular basis, but occasionally, if used correctly, could be a way to complete a specific goal while delivering a complete product. Why is that? Sometimes ‘strategic procrastination’ allows more time to complete a particular research without worrying about getting it done as soon as possible, which may be incomplete or lack needed context. Instead, appropriate amount of time is spent on a specific task to ensure it is 100% complete to your satisfaction and all necessary requirements are met. When writing a blog, podcast, book, etc., ‘strategic procrastination’ allows for more time to think about the topic, complete several practice drafts, until it is perfect and is ready to be published.
There’s a fine distinction between ‘strategic procrastination’ and intentional procrastination, even though they appear to have a lot of similarity. With ‘strategic procrastination’ even though you are placing completion date on pause, you continue to conduct research, idea generation, and brainstorming during the ‘pause phase.’ Where’s with intentional procrastination, you are engaged in other activities not related to a task given or goal. Example: goal is to complete writing a book, but instead, you are watching TV.
How do you stop intentional and unintentional procrastination?
1. Create a list of all tasks/items that you need to complete if there’s more than one
2. Prioritize your tasks based on level of importance and/or their due dates.
6. Just DO IT, don’t procrastinate!
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**Interested in learning more ways to help with stopping procrastination? If so, check out new e-book titled: "How to stop procrastinating?" which will be added to the Heart & Mind of a Leader online store on 10/5/2016