Going to Procrastinate Anyway? Here Are 3 Tips for Doing It Better

19 May 2019

Anyone who tells you they never procrastinate is almost certainly fibbing. There are times in all of our lives when sticking to our schedules, doing our work, and handling our chores, just seems so far from fun or interesting that we will find pretty much any excuse to do pretty much anything else.

Of course, it's a good idea to try and reduce how much you actually procrastinate on a regular basis. No doubt this will make you a lot more productive, and do wonders for your personal and professional lives, in different ways.

Still, there are times when you just know you're going to procrastinate anyway. So, what to do when that happens?

Well, how about procrastinating better? Here are some suggestions.

Engage in "productive procrastination"

All forms of procrastination are not equal. As any veteran procrastinator can tell you, there are "productive" forms of procrastination, and pure "I'm wasting my time in the worst possible way" forms of procrastination.

If you're in a situation where you just feel the uncontrollable urge to procrastinate, you should at least try to make it the productive kind of procrastination, as much as you can.

Alright, maybe you don't want to work on that massive project your boss has assigned you. But you don't have to spend the rest of your evening looking at memes, either. How about investigating things like what types of decking best suit your home, so that you can get your house spruced up like you've been wanting to for ages now?

Any kind of procrastination that moves some other project or goal forward is at least worth something.

Find ways to make your moments of procrastination less of a write-off

It could be that the type of procrastination you're engaging in involves pretty much mindlessly surfing the web, actually looking at memes after all, or even doing the dishes (if you're really desperate.)

But just because the main procrastination activity you're engaged in is pretty low-energy doesn't mean that you can't find ways to make those moments less of a write-off.

These days, you can gain access to thousands of audiobooks, and millions of podcasts, at the drop of a hat. So, why not at least listen to an interesting talk while you're catching up on memes.

Set a time limit for procrastination

Now, this technique takes a bit of practice, but if you feel like you'll go insane without a bit of procrastination, that still doesn't mean that you actually have to procrastinate for hours and hours at a stretch.

How about getting an egg timer, setting it to 20 minutes or so, allowing yourself to procrastinate freely during that time, and then committing to doing 25 minutes of work afterwards?

Then, once you've got into the flow of doing some work, you can follow the Pomodoro technique – which involves 25 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of break time, rinse and repeat, until your work is done.

This technique is really good for getting you to at least do something productive and work-focused, without sending you into the state of existential panic that comes with thinking "okay now I need to get my head down and work for 5 hours straight."
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