Why Procrastinate Today When You Can Put it off Until Tomorrow
I recently read there were two different verbs for procrastination in ancient Egypt. One denoted laziness and the other meant waiting for the right time.
Today most of us would just call it laziness, not even thinking there could be another reason.
I know I’ve procrastinated many times over tasks I didn’t really enjoy doing. But I’ve also procrastinated over new sales strategies, products we’d like to develop and marketing campaigns.
So, what’s the difference…
Well. It turns out some of the most original thinkers and inventors in history have been great procrastinators too.
Take Leonardo da Vinci.
It’s estimated da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa for years. Starting in 1503 and not finishing until 1519. They suggest during this time of procrastination, his dabbling with optics and other experiments added to his abilities, helping him produce the masterpiece which became the Mona Lisa.
I also read a story that da Vinci spent years developing ideas for the “Last Supper.”
The painting began as a sketch of figures sitting on a bench. Some years later, it became the famous painting of Jesus telling his apostles one them will betray him, depicting their reactions.
Someone said a prior from the monastery complained to da Vinci about its delay, enraging him. This caused da Vinci to write to the head of the monastery, explaining he had been struggling to find the perfect villainous face for Judas, and that if he could not find a face corresponding with what he had in mind, he would use the features of the prior who had complained.
Da Vinci was a master procrastinator taking years to complete his most famous works, taking time out to think, contemplate and learn new things, to enable him to find the solutions he was seeking.
Then there’s the great Martin Luther King Jr, and his world-famous ‘I have a dream’ speech.
It’s reported, months before the speech was due to be delivered, King sought advice from his three closest advisors about the appropriate content and tone. Following this, he asked his lawyer and speechwriter (Clarence Jones) to start working on a draft.
Even then, King resisted the temptation to agree on a theme or direction, not actually working on it himself until four days before it was due to be delivered.
Then at the last minute, he scrapped it completely, called an advisor to his hotel room, and worked throughout the night without sleep on a revised version.
King was to be the final speaker and his words would be carried to millions of people throughout the world. It was vitally important he made his speech be both inspiring and wise.
As King walked to the podium to deliver his speech, even as he approached the microphone, he was still revising it, months after the initial ideas and first drafts were made.
It’s said King added so much new material to the prepared speech, the length of the address nearly doubled.
Proving that great thinkers and inventors are great procrastinators, although they don’t skip planning altogether. They procrastinate strategically, making gradual progress by testing and refining different possibilities.
In the current global climate, it’s time for many businesses to consider the changing business landscape and procrastinate hard about how to change their products and services accordingly.
We’ve certainly been heavily procrastinating over the last few months, deciding how we can change our printer and office technology solutions, to provide fit for purpose solutions for the new business landscape of smaller head offices, mountains of home workers and abundance of self-employed.
I’m going to stop calling ‘putting things off because I don’t like doing them’ procrastination. Laziness is a better word to use. Because real procrastination should be used in a much more creative way.
Darren Turner’s imaging business success story began in 2003 when he opened a retail store in the UK selling printer supplies to home users & small organisations. Since then he has moved into a business unit, grown his team and continued to adapt to match his customers’ changing needs. He has developed a ‘fit for purpose’ office products and solutions business model that provides certainty of cost and service for small business, charities and schools—thus providing them complete peace of mind.
He has become a trusted advisor for small organisations across the world. Turner invites you to chat with him about your business, reaching out to him on LinkedIn, email or on the phone +44-7887-548523
Read his other posts and logs:
- Why Procrastinate Today When You Can Put it off Until Tomorrow
- Planting Trees as an Office Solution