Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Procrastination and the Crock Pot

Most of us are told that Procrastination is bad.

And for good reason. Waiting until something is due to start often results in a half-assed, rushed job that is likely to have errors that would have been avoided if you hadn't done it at the last minute in a rushed, half-assed manner!

However, I've been giving this word some thought and want to challenge you to do the same.

It all began on a Friday morning. I was attending an introductory sales presentation by Paul Lushin when he mentioned that procrastination is good. Due to the time limits of his presentation and all of the other items he was covering, he didn't same much more about the subject.

But I thought about it the rest of the day, and decided to write about it.

However before I began writing about it, I checked my email and low and behold, there were not 1 but 2 newsletters in my inbox talking about the evils of procrastination.

More fuel to my fire.

First a posting on the Dumb Little Man blog entitled Four Crucial Steps to Avoid Procrastination.

Ali Hale gives some good advice on how to overcome Procrastination if it is a problem in your life and business.

Next, Seth Godin touches on the subject as he talks about Finding Inspiration Instead Of It Finding You.

Again, good advice about a more disciplined life, but there is another side of procrastination that I know is good.

I call it Crock Pot Procrastination.

Crock Pots and Slow Cookers became popular in the 1970's, as more Moms entered the work force fulltime and were still expected to feed the family at dinnertime.

A crock pot allowed you put raw food into a slow cooker, add some water and spices and let it simmer all day so when you came the house was filled with the aroma of a delicious dinner and our plates were filled tasty morsels of goodness.

Contrast this with the Microwave. What used to take an hour can now take 5 minutes. And that is how a lot of us operate with multi-tasking, doing everything now, etc.

In order for procrastination to work for you instead of against you, you need to follow the Crock Pot rules:

  1. Prepare the ingredients. Start thinking about the project way ahead of the deadline.
  2. Let it simmer. Go do something else. Some of my best creative ideas come when I'm mowing the yard, or playing a game. Staring at a computer screen and trying to be creative can be counter-productive.
  3. Capture some of those ideas. Like the aroma that fills the kitchen as the food is cooking, those random ideas can add flavor or direction to what you are going to create. Write them down, save them in your voice mail, just have a system to capture those ideas.
  4. Have a deadline. Dinnertime is 5:30 tonight. Not 9:30 tomorrow morning. Set a time to take the ideas that have been cooking in your crock pot, set the table and eat.
  5. Save your leftovers. Not all of your ideas will fit into the project you are working on. Perhaps they are ideas you can use in the future.

By the way, the Friday that all of this happened was 11 days ago, August 20th. And I wrote this after about 24 hours of "Crock Potting" the idea of Good Procrastination.

But due to an abundance of ideas, I scheduled it to appear publicly today on the 31st, which takes the pressure off of having to Microwave an idea for a blog post that I've committed myself to update every week.

So how it all works?

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