A New Spin On An Old Nemesis … Procrastination!

I have a confession to make.

Brace yourself.

Sometimes … I procrastinate.

Yup. It’s true. This productivity connoisseur’s (fancy word for expert) time management skills are questionable at times.

Some days I do it more than others. And some days I don’t do it at all. I read about and attempt to avoid it. I’m even going to be bold and write about it. But, I still do it.

And I’ll bet you do it too.

I even procrastinated writing this article about procrastination. Really, I did.

I knew I wanted to write about it and ideas have been renting space in my head for days now, and I knew the deadline of getting the article done was fast approaching and STILL, I put off writing it until the last possible minute. Okay, slight exaggeration – I still had a few hours left before zero-hour.

So what’s my point?

Procrastinating means that nothing is getting done, right?

Or does it? (cue dramatic music)

Let’s examine this a bit further shall we?

The following idea is the brainchild of a Stanford University Philosophy Professor by the name of John Perry. He calls it Structured Procrastination.

But I like to call it …

Creative Procrastination!

Doesn’t that sound great? I love it. I’ve been using it a lot lately. Mainly because I’ve been procrastinating a bit these days.

When I read about this concept the effect on me was immediate and, dare I say, profound. Honestly, I wish I’d come up with the idea myself. But I digress …

This spin has inspired me to new heights in terms of how I think about procrastination. As a result, I’m getting lots of stuff done and you may find yourself doing the same.

Creative Procrastination is the art of making a bad trait work FOR you rather than against.

Here’s an example of how I creatively procrastinated today.

With all great intentions of not doing a single thing until I first wrote my article, I managed to get these things accomplished first:

Completed my GST filing for Q1. Very important, and one other item I had managed to procrastinate on until today. The deadline was fast approaching on this one, and what better time to finally get it done but in the act of putting off something else – like writing this article.

Printed off some promised material for a client, then placed it in an envelope and addressed and stamped it ready to take to the post office … when I get there. Important, wouldn’t you agree?

Which led me to making and printing a new set of return address labels. I’ve just moved and my old ones just won’t do. And really, I can’t just scribble out the old address. What would that look like? Hmmmm … somewhat important.

Completed printing/hole punching/and filing away a binder that has been taking up too much space on my desk. Not very important, but it sure felt good to finally get that niggly task done and off my desk.

Made my bed and tidied up. Kinda important. It sure felt good to get it done and out of the way. But hey, now I can really get at that article.

But wait. What’s that? I can’t start yet, I need to …

… put away a couple of stray paperclips. (Okay, I think it’s safe to say that I was desperately putting off starting the article at this point.)

Pretty creative huh?

It may appear as if I did some silly stuff instead of doing what I really needed to do. But digging a bit deeper, I still managed to write this (the proof is right in front of you) and also managed to get some stuff done as well. Some of this stuff had been waiting to get done and had been on my to-do list for a while.

Well, maybe the paper clips incident wasn’t, but most of the other stuff was.

And it felt good to finally get those things done and crossed off my list.

Now, think about some of the stuff you managed to get done while putting off doing something else. In the act of putting off doing one thing, how many other things got done?

A few things?

Were some of them important to you?

Do you feel better?

Good.

The trick to getting the most out of using this strategy is to be selective of the stuff you are doing. For the most part, you should choose things that you can complete quickly and get off your list of stuff-to-do. These items should generally move you ahead in getting important stuff done. And you should feel a sense of satisfaction having done them.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t do those really important things. I’m just offering you an optional way of thinking about how you procrastinate.

I’m certain many of my fellow time management experts wouldn’t approve of this strategy (promise you won’t tell on me), but the truth is you’re likely going to procrastinate on something at some point anyway. Why not be creative about it?

Whew. I can check this article off my list. Now I can get to the next item I’ve been putting off. But fist, I think I’ll just quickly …

Start using Creative Procrastination today. Oh, but you are already aren’t you? What are you procrastinating on in order to read this?

HA! Gotcha.

Use Creative Procrastination. Get more done.

Now, get on with your day!

Have you procrastinated today? What do you think of this concept?

Share your thoughts below …

About Georgina Forrest

Georgina Forrest is a Productivity Coach & Organizing Specialist at Smartworks! Enterprises Inc. in Red Deer, Alberta. Her credentials include Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®), Certified Organizer Coach (COC®), and membership with Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) where she has attained Gold Leaf status – a designation acknowledging her as an experienced professional organizer. Her specialties are geared toward increasing productivity, streamlining administration and decreasing stress in the workplace. She will teach you how to manage your time, space and information so you can be more effective and efficient at work. Additionally she offers training programs, productivity coaching and time management-related presentations.

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