Why procrastination is good for you

In June I attended the GTD Summit in Amsterdam, a conference centered around David Allen and his “Getting Things Done” (GTD) methodology. The summit organizers brought together an excellent set of presenters. They ranged from a gynaecologist, to several entrepreneurs, executive coaches, an astronaut and a professor. They all spoke about how GTD was helping them in their daily (working) life and in some cases the presenters were joyfully educating us on how the brain works, why open offices are counter productive and why nobody is able to multitask. 

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” – David Allen

This quote highlights an important aspect of GTD. When we try to remember everything that needs to be done, it is guaranteed that we forget things. Our mind is full and not sufficiently capable of coming up with new ideas. Our work life is predominantly centered around execution mode; we are in an “always on” mode, focussing on execution. It leaves no room for creativity. 

When you go for a walk during work hours, you stare out the window or you procrastinate, your colleagues might feel that you are not productive.  However, the contrary is true. These are the moments to reflect and that is an essential use of our time to be able to be creative. Presenter Theo Compernolle, professor, writer and neuropsychiatrist, was unmistakably clear about that fact. 

Creativity will not come on demand, our brain needs time to do nothing and to reflect. Tony Crabbe highlighted that procrastination is in fact a good thing. Research showed that delaying a task and doing something else will increase the creative performance with 28%. It will help you to reflect on the challenges ahead and will allow you to approach them with new ideas.  

What are you going to procrastinate on this week?


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