Planned Procrastination

Today we have a guest post by  Cecil Murphey. Cec has authored over a hundred books including Unleash the Writer Within, which every writer should read. I know you’ll enjoy what he shares today.

People who know me can’t believe that I occasionally struggle with procrastination, but I do. The Africans called me Haraka, which means quick or fast—and that’s my usual way. Grab whatever needs doing. Finish it. Now.


Occasionally I’ll encounter a situation where I know I need to act, but I’m not ready. For example, Twila and I have contracted for a book called I Believe in Healing. I had written more than 70,000 words in a disorganized document of 300 plus pages. I had done enough research that I needed to organize it into an outline and make the pieces fit into a coherent book.

I couldn’t figure it out. No matter how I tried to organize the material, it didn’t work. I did what I call planned procrastination.

Monday morning I decided I would start the outline Thursday. That meant the outline was no longer something about which I needed to be concerned. I prayed about Thursday and asked God to help me as part of my planned procrastination. Whenever the topic came to me, I’d remind myself, “Thursday is the day to start.”

When I awakened Thursday morning, I had an inkling of how to do the outline and I spent a couple of hours on it. After perhaps an hour, I knew exactly what to do.

I could try to explain about allowing the unconscious part of my mind wrestle with the problem—which I believe is what happened. Instead, I say it this way: I decided not to give the problem any conscious thought or energy. I also set a deadline for my unconscious mind.

I’ve been doing this for at least twenty years. Recently I realized it might help others in their struggle with putting off something that has to be done—when they aren’t ready.

I’ve become ready through planned procrastination. For me, the technique has never failed.

 Plan your procrastination.

Have you used planned procrastination to engage your unconscious mind? What other methods work for you?

New York Times’ bestselling author and international speaker Cecil (Cec) Murphey has written or co-written more than one hundred books, including the runaway bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold millions of copies, have been translated into more than 40 languages, and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.