We all know that procrastination is bad in most cases. Procrastination has been one of the “evils” of business for just about as long as I can remember. You know the old saying, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today”.
But are there ever times when it is good? I think there are occasions when procrastination, delays and second thoughts which cause us to put something off actually work to our benefit.
The Old “Gut Feeling”
Have you ever pulled up in front of a property and gotten an odd feeling before you ever opened the front door? I know I have. Most of us would call that a gut feeling. This isn’t about the house that is obviously in a bad neighborhood, but rather something a little bit more subtle.
I once had an appointment to look at a house in a solid middle class neighborhood. All the houses looked nice. In fact the house I was there to inspect seemed to be a little too nice for the asking price. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something that just didn’t seem right. As I glanced up and down the street, the only thing I noticed was a few of men out in the yard at one of the homes across the street. Otherwise everything looked OK.
I went in and took a look around the house. Everything was updated and at first glance this house looked like it would make a great rental. I walked through the house a second time just to be sure I hadn’t missed anything. I went out the back door and started to walk around the exterior of the property.
That was when I caught another glance at the house across the street. There were now about a dozen men and women hanging out in the front yard. These folks were an age where they should have been at work. What were they doing? I have no idea, but they were sure interested in what I was doing; they were watching me closely. I just got in my car and left.
I told the seller I didn’t think I would be interested in the property. She asked me to think about it and call her back, and she mentioned once again that she was really motivated. I had made my decision but a couple of days later I was in the area and I drove by the property again. Once again, there were 6-8 grown men just “mulling around” in the front yard. I’m pretty sure there was nothing good going on at that house. In these situations always trust your gut.
Failed Joint Ventures; Thank Goodness
There was another time recently where I had someone ask me to do a project with them; a joint venture of sorts. I didn’t know this person well, but I did know her online reputation which was good. And the project itself sounded really interesting on the surface. It was definitely something I would have been interested in doing. But I soon found out that this joint venture just wouldn’t come together.
After receiving the initial email from her, I made several attempts to contact this person back. Eventually she emailed me saying she would get back to me in a week or so. Then I got another email a couple of weeks after that saying pretty much the same thing. I made one final attempt to contact her to see if she still had an interest in the moving forward with the project or if there even was still a project. This is when she launched into an angry “tirade” of sorts with about a million excuses why she couldn’t get her act together. Once again, she said she would get back with me.
I wasn’t sure if she was having a bad day, or if this was her way of doing business. Either way I didn’t need to hear anything else about “her project”. I simply told her that I was going to be too busy in the upcoming months to fit this project in. If I hadn’t had this delay I probably would have wasted a whole lot of (my) time and found myself in an uncomfortable position with someone that couldn’t get started much less finish the project. One thing I am certain of is that our personalities wouldn’t have been a good fit.
Delays aren’t always bad. Putting something off for a few days or in some cases a few weeks has worked out to my advantage many times over the years. Sometimes even a short “timeout” lets us see things we would have missed if we continued rushing toward our goal.
Putting something off repeatedly may be a sign that you need to call it off
Can you think of times when procrastination or delays have actually been good for your business?