Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Need a 2021 work resolution? Procrastinate more

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Boris is the wise ol’ CEO of TNW who writes a weekly column on everything about being an entrepreneur in tech — from managing stress to embracing awkwardness. You can get his musings straight to your inbox by signing up for his newsletter!

Last year I bought a rubber buoy to mark the spot where I anchor my boat. What I hadn’t considered though — until I received the deflated buoy — was that I’d have to fill it myself. It made sense, of course, I just hadn’t given it the slightest thought.

This didn’t phase me though, I had a bicycle pump with an adapter, so I’d get it done in no time… but within a minute I was already sweating profusely beginning to doubt if I’d ever inflate it.

The buoy’s air valve was a sturdy one, and it took quite an effort to just get a small amount of air into it. After a few minutes of profuse pumping, I started to think the buoy must have a puncture. No matter how much work I put in, it hardly seemed to move.

[Read: Meet the 4 scale-ups using data to save the planet]

A whole eternity later (or at least that’s what it felt like) my unexpected workout session paid off. The buoy began to inflate a little bit, I kept pumping like crazy, and then suddenly it seemed to fill up completely in one go. My buoy was finally ready to be deployed.

Sounds like a metaphor? Well, I guess it is.

See, I’m a procrastinator. I need time, a deadline, and a reminder — and then a stern warning — to finally get me to make some extra time for the work I need to do. Since we’re entering a new year, I’ve decided it’s the perfect moment to make a change. Am I going to stop procrastinating? Hell no. Instead, I’ve decided to feel better about procrastinating — and here’s where the buoy story comes in.

The thing is, procrastination isn’t ‘doing nothing.’ Just like pumping air into a lifeless buoy, you don’t see any results right away, but you’re laying a foundation for success.

Procrastinating doesn’t just mean you haven’t started the work, it actually signals you’ve begun thinking about the outcome. You’re mentally preparing, turning over ideas in your head, considering them from all angles and how best to implement them.

You should think of work procrastination like marinating your food. It might seem like you’re not doing anything, but it’s actually an essential part of making a great meal.

So I hope you’ll find the time and comfort to procrastinate a little this year. And when you do, please try not to feel guilty about it.

You’re not doing nothing — you’re marinating.

Can’t get enough of Boris? Check out his older stories here, and sign up for TNW’s newsletters here.

Published January 7, 2021 — 16:02 UTC

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