I confess. I am a procrastinator. Most people think this is bad. I disagree.
There are good things about being a procrastinator.
I’m going to put off extolling the virtues of procrastination until after I tell you about my summer.
Over the summer I didn’t write much so I thought it would be fitting for my first post this fall to be about procrastination. Here is my lengthy list of excuses. I was: visiting my mom, video chatting with my adult kids, drawing badly (but having fun), gardening badly (but having fun), reading, playing games, watching Olympics, crocheting, traveling, spending time with friends, recovering from traveling, organizing my pictures (but I put off finishing), entering family recipes on my computer (but I put off finishing), taking long walks, swimming laps, learning about peace and grace and imagination and the importance of mindset (most likely more about all of these later), practicing listening, and not doing stuff that feels like work.
It has been a great summer.
1. Procrastination is good for productive creativity
According to Wharton professor Adam Grant, there are real benefits to being a procrastinator. In his Ted Talk he qualifies his comments by saying that there are real benefits to being a mild procrastinator. Extreme procrastination seems to erase most of the benefit. Moderation in all things, even procrastination.
- Procrastinators let their subconscious minds work on ideas. They are open to divergent ideas and non-linear thinking.
- Procrastinators know that the first idea is rarely the best.
- Procrastinators delay work with the idea of coming back to it. Their sub-conscience works on the problem while they do other things.
- Procrastination, Grant says, is a common trait of “originals”, productive creative thinkers. (I love that!)
This blog usually talks about the ways our thoughts and experiences grow from, or are corrected by, relationship with God because that is the core of everything. The spiritual life intersects with procrastination, but how? One of my least favorite Proverbs, seems to be aimed directly at writers.
“A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:10-11, NIV)
Laziness is bad. Mild procrastination is not laziness.
2. Procrastination can be rest.
The Bible talks a lot about rest and silence. Resting is so important it is commanded. The Bible is full of rest. God rested after creating and commanded that people rest too.
3. Waiting for God’s timing can look like procrastination.
Procrastinating can be waiting. Waiting is relational. We wait for God before rushing into stuff. Noah waited for the water to recede. Moses rushed in and learned the hard way to wait on God’s timing. Ruth waited for Boaz. Esther waited to go to the king even though genocide was on the line. Most every good story involves waiting. Jesus waited to go to Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus died. It seemed like cruel procrastination to Martha. “Why didn’t you come?” Jesus didn’t use the word procrastination, but he often talked about time. He particularly talked about the right time. He said “the hour for (fill in the blank) has not yet come.
How can we know when the time is right? That is a question for later….