A nice crisp breeze, falling leaves, the smell of a pumpkin spice candle burning … ah, the smells of fall. An environment like that is just the thing to get me sidetracked from the job at hand. How many of us secretly know that in the middle of our crazy-busy lives, we sometimes will take any excuse to procrastinate on things we really have to be doing?

Since I have had an unusually busy year of work deadlines and long hours, I have been faintly ashamed of myself for the times when my brain rebels and I find myself surfing the internet or reading a magazine instead of buckling down and working on that chapter my editor is waiting for. Or that article I need to turn into MomLife. Ahem.

But recently I realized that sometimes, in the midst of our craziness, perhaps procrastination can be a good thing. Sometimes.

In my case, I know that my heart and mind get so stressed out by long hours that I really must give myself permission to sideline what I have to do and instead do something I probably need to do instead–which is to get some breathing room. Some margin.

What a thought: Procrastination can be a mental health tool! Really.

So as an ode to procrastination, I just have to share a hilarious article a friend sent me called, “Field Guide to Procrastinators” about the many ways we put things off.

One of my favorites is “The Perpetuator.” The Perpetuator says, Well, I was going to start 30 minutes ago but now it’s getting a little late…so I’ll just have to start on it tomorrow. Boy, could I relate to that one.

The other type that is so me, is “The Sidetracker”; this is the person who is supposed to be doing XYZ, but right in the middle of that project gets a fabulous idea about ABC instead. I’ll just start that and come back to XYZ a little bit later…. and later…

And in this social networking age, who can’t relate to “The Social Sharer” sharing a picture on Facebook of what they look like not working? And while they’re already on the internet, they may as well become “The Internet Researcher” as well!

The hysterical YouTube video about babies getting their first taste of lemons is such an important part of my research. (Yes, I know I’m sidetracking you now, too …)

In all seriousness, however, those of us who kick ourselves for procrastinating need to realize that it might not be all bad. It may be our stressed-out brain’s way of insisting on a break.

So let’s allow ourselves those short breaks every now and then – but on a strict timer, so we don’t find “just reading the news for ten minutes” turning into an hour of wasted time. And then, let’s press on and persevere toward the goal to which we are called.

Click here to see the entire “Field Guide to Procrastinators.”