We all have “good friends” and “bad friends.” Good friends help you seize opportunities, while bad friends tend to be obstacles standing in your way. Good friends spur you on to be the best you can be; while bad friends lead you down unproductive paths.

Procrastination can be a good friend or a bad friend.

It’s easy to see why procrastination is most commonly thought of in a negative light. Many people view procrastination as putting off until later something that really should be done now, and hoping no one notices.

However, according to dictionary.com, to procrastinate simply means “to defer action.”

In Every Day is Game Day I defined procrastination as “the space in time between inspiration and implementation”. It is neither negative nor positive. It’s simply the neutral space in time between when you are inspired to do something and when it actually gets done.

I may be inspired to make a purchase for which I don’t currently have funds available. I could borrow the money and make the purchase now. Or I could procrastinate making that purchase until I have the funds available. Which is better?

If the purchase is for something that I need now, like medicine, it would be better to borrow the money and make the purchase right away. In this case, procrastination would be a bad friend. However, if the purchase is for something that I don’t actually need right now, like a flat screen TV, it may be better to procrastinate and make that purchase later. In this case, procrastination would be a good friend.

Procrastination is situational, and requires discernment. If a delay in action is healthy, then procrastination is a good friend. But if a delay in action is unnecessary or even harmful, procrastination is a bad friend. Therefore, it should be your quest to become a Master Procrastinator.

There are only a certain number of hours in the day. You choose how you invest your time. When you say “yes” to something, you are effectively saying “no” (or “not now”) to everything else you could be doing at that time. In essence, you are procrastinating on those other things.

Whether procrastination is good or bad relates to the return on your investment of time. If you say “yes” to watching TV and “no” to working on a project with an impending deadline, your return on investment probably won’t be good. However, if you work on the project and delay action on watching TV, you are making a good investment of your time. Procrastination of TV is your good friend.

When applied appropriately, procrastination is the very essence of Priority Management.

In what areas of your life or career do you need to stop procrastinating? In what areas do you need to be a Master Procrastinator?