If You Procrastinate, Can You Still Be Productive?
Can you be productive even if you procrastinate? Oh heck yes you can! However, just what are you getting done?
We all know what straight up procrastination is, it's putting off something until the last moment which usually induces higher levels of stress and probably results in a lesser quality product, or it's something that just never gets done because there is no deadline or sense of urgency attached to it. Most often we procrastinate on things we don't like to do or think will be difficult. That makes sense. So how can we be productive and still not get the important stuff done? Well, that's where productive procrastination comes in.
Productive procrastination is when you choose to do lesser important tasks over the more important tasks; your busy, but you are avoiding doing something that is really more important than what your doing. It might look like this: cleaning out your desk instead of writing the report that is due tomorrow, if you work from home, washing the dishes instead of making phone calls, or rewriting and color coding your to-do list instead of checking off your to-do list. You're getting stuff done, but is it the right stuff to be doing right now? Don't get me wrong, productive procrastination is a comfortable place to visit and you get stuff done, but you shouldn't make "Avoidance Land" your "go to" destination
So how do you stop gravitating toward low level "busy work" and start focusing on more important tasks? I think being aware that you are misappropriating your time is the first step. If you haven't already, start a list of all the things you need/want to do. Next, on a separate piece of paper, draw lines to divide a piece of paper into 4 even sections. List the first section Important and Urgent, the next one, Important and Not Urgent, the third one Not Important and Urgent and the last one Not Important and Not Urgent. Now, place your to-do list items under the heading that they fall into. Uh oh, you probably know what I'm going to say next....choose more items from the Important and Urgent list than all the other lists. If those tasks seem too hard, break them down into smaller/more detailed task to help accomplish the main task.
Productive Procrastination will keep you busy but catching yourself gravitating toward that "busy work" will help you realize what choices you are making and help you refocus your efforts to more important tasks. Knocking off more tasks from the "Important and Urgent" list will help you feel accomplished and more successful through out your day.
PS, if you still can't seem to be motivated to be more productive on the more important things, check out my blog post entitled "The key to motivating yourself and others". 😊