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Why Procrastinating can be just fine and dandy…

Advice, who wants it? It’s currently going cheap. Why? There’s tons of it, that’s why. It’s coming out of our ears. It’s everywhere, magazines, billboards, TV and, of course, social media is brim-full, absolutely stuffed with it.

My “favourite” article recently on LinkedIn was the one which suggested that getting 16 minutes less sleep than ‘normal’ could ruin your day. What? Just run that past me again, seriously? What do you mean by normal? What do you mean by ruin?

In truth, as someone who’s experienced insomnia I’ve sometimes observed that when I’ve had less than 16 minutes sleep in total it’s been a bit of a drag, but even that’s never ruined the day…well, not for me anyway.

And what about procrastination? Well, there’ve been a number of articles recently that would have you believe it’s one of the seven deadly sins. The intonation in certain quarters being that if we’re not permanently running around ‘doing’, working, being effective etc. that somehow, we’re letting the side down, even if there’s only us in the business.

OK, stop, enough. No, I mean it. We all need to slow down here. Sure, there’s times when taking action is desirable, even essential. Being decisive is generally a virtue and industry enriches, that is if the Victorians are to be believed.

But, if you want to succeed in life and business, sometimes you need to take a little time to smell the roses. Delaying action, taking your time over a decision or simply spending part of your working day just chilling can be very effective. Why?

To be truly efficient we need to develop what’s often referred to as our gut instinct, our sixth sense or our intuition. This isn’t something which is easily measured, in fact many even doubt its existence. But more emotionally intelligent people know that without it, we can really struggle to understand and be understood.

Sometimes when we find ourselves ‘procrastinating’, it’s because something else is happening. And we need to find time and space to understand what that is and, when we do that, it usually manifests itself.

For me, the best clarity, the answers to nagging questions or problems nearly always come when I’m completely relaxing, sometimes on holiday, but more often when pottering around the back garden with a coffee in my dressing gown. People have different preferences when it comes to finding space, some like to meditate, some like to take long walks or hot baths, some like to entertain the neighbours by pretending to be unemployed…

But, in spite of the prevailing wisdom nowadays, the bottom line is that we need to be just that little bit easier on ourselves. Sure, there’s some good advice out there but, more often than not, the best advice, the best guidance, direction and wisdom we already have. We just need to give ourselves some breathing space to access it.

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