Procrastination often gets a bad rap, but I'm a huge fan of it.

Sometimes I find that delay is actually the best tactic to deal with mundane but time-consuming issues that occasionally arise in my business. You might find that this approach works for you too.

Just because certain matters can't be ignored, just because they must be addressed, doesn't always mean that they must be handled right now.

I've found that many of them have a way of resolving themselves if I just allow them to simmer on the back burner for a while.

For example, how often have you found yourself engrossed in something when someone barges into your office to discuss a problem in their department? All of a sudden, you drop what you're doing to help them deal with it--and when they leave, you're discombobulated. Your train of thought is gone. You're no longer in the zone, and your productivity is shot.

Here's what I sometimes do in that situation: When a staff member comes in and says, "Hey, I need such and such," I say, "Great. Let's talk about it the day after tomorrow."

Guess what? The odds are high that I will never see them again on that matter because the problem will vaporize on its own. They discover that they didn't need my help at all. Either they handled it on their own or realized that it wasn't as urgent as they thought and they dropped it.

Interoffice email also can be intrusive when you're busy. You have to weigh each one on its merits, of course, but sometimes I find that an approach similar to the above works. I'll ask the person who emailed to think about the problem for a day or two and then we'll discuss it. Often I'll get a follow-up email telling me to ignore the original because the writer has managed to solve it.

This delaying strategy--which I use sparingly as the situation warrants--allows me to minimize interruptions and keep focusing on my own business at hand because, more often than not, that is more urgent and worthy of my attention.

Procrastination is a wonderful thing.

Published on: Sep 22, 2015
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