Five Ways Procrastination Spurs Innovation

Man taking a mental break at his desk.
We all need a mental break if we’re going to be innovative.

It’s odd that we act like everything has to be done at top speed, no stops, no hesitation, and no drifting of focus. Imagine if we cooked everything at the highest heat possible, drove with our foot to the floor, or said everything as loudly as we could, all the time. You have to vary your intensity, or even stop altogether, and this is as true of innovation strategy as it is with everyday life.

It Shifts Expectations

Whether it’s the first product development strategy meeting or just simply a brainstorming session, everyone quickly learns that their eyes are bigger than their stomach once it comes time to do the work. Yet we can cling to unrealistic goals well past the point it’s become obvious they won’t be achieved. Procrastination forces a degree of focus on achievable goals within resources.

It Stops Multitasking

The myth of multitasking has long been a problem at any scale, from organization-wide change management to personal productivity. Either you’re fully focused on one task or your focus is split between multiple tasks. 

Sometimes “procrastinating” is simply giving a small task the attention it deserves to be finished correctly, instead of only half-handling it. Other times, cutting down the time you have to complete the task forces you to focus, instead of scattering your attention.

It Demands Consideration

We don’t procrastinate when it comes to things we like. Change management and innovation strategy will often focus, in fact, on the tasks people dislike. Whether they are forms that never get filled out or meetings that are never well attended. If you’re putting off a task, ask yourself why that is, and figure out ways to remove those aspects from the task.

Woman laying her head on a table.
Sometimes we’re more innovative avoiding a problem than solving it.

It Demands New Approaches

Not everyone enjoys trying to innovate under pressure, yet often pressure is the key element for major innovation. Necessity, as the proverb goes, is the mother of invention. “Putting it off to the last minute” probably isn’t an ideal innovation strategy. However, sometimes you need to put ideas together, and adding a time constraint may bring out the creativity that might not be summoned otherwise.

It Encourages “Failure”

We often think of failure as a bad thing. But the truth is that testing your ideas and learning where they hold up and where they don’t is often the only way to innovate. Outside of perhaps a few product development strategy talks, we only see the end result, never learning about what it took to get there. Yet that process is just as important.

Of course, procrastination can be a problem if it gets out of control. Yet, we should remember that it’s human, and any innovation strategy should be human-focused. To learn more, join our newsletter!

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