Procrastinating Is Different Than Incubating

Procrastinating Is Different Than Incubating
Procrastinating Is Different Than Incubating

Sometimes ideas need time to incubate. We may need to work out details, methods, or even the feasibility of the idea itself.

To the outside person, this can look like procrastination.

But in fact, incubation and procrastination are very different.

How are they different? Here are five ways that procrastinating is different than incubating.

  • Incubating is active. The action might only be in your thoughts or unconscious, but incubating is an active process. Procrastination, on the other hand, is about ignoring something.
  • Incubating solves a problem. When you are incubating, you are trying to solve some problem with the task at hand. Even if you are doing this subconsciously, you are seeking a solution that will allow you to move forward. Procrastination, on the other hand, is about leaving things as they are.
  • Incubating is clear. Incubating about a task means that you have all the facts laid out in front of you. You have some idea of what the outcome should be. All you need is a way from where you are to where you are going. Procrastinating is unclear; usually we procrastinate because we aren’t clear about the current or future states.
  • Incubating integrates with life. When you incubate a problem, you are pulling in threads and ideas from your entire life. Sometimes something might jog your brain into considering the problem in a different light. Procrastination is ignoring the matter, so you keep it separate from the rest of your life.
  • Incubating is putting something aside. Procrastination is also putting something aside, but with incubation, it is a purposeful decision meant to further your problem solving. With procrastination, the task will keep coming up because you will know that you are not dealing with it in the best way.

So when you are stalling on something, and be completely honest with yourself, are you procrastinating or incubating? Is there some way that you can take the procrastination and turn it into incubation? Share your ideas below.