Is there such a thing as productive procrastination, and if so is it really good for you?
FINISHING SCHOOL | Is there a form of procras- tination, which is defined as the obvious and intentional putting off of something that must or should be done, that is more acceptable than others? I think there is, and I now have a label for it: Productive Procrastination. I ran into this phrase recently on urbandictionary.com, a website I turn to for pop cultural understanding—or to avoid getting down to research and writing stories for this website.
According to the Urban Dictionary, productive procrastination is defined as “Doing stuff to keep busy while avoiding what really needs doing. When all is said and done, your room is clean, your laundry is folded—but you haven’t started your English paper.” The UD seems to imply that productive procrastination is ultimately undesirable, but I don’t see it that way. If the thing you do to avoid a task at hand is something that also really needs to get done—a necessary task that lingers on some long-standing back-of-brain To Do List—and you actually get to put a check-mark beside it, that can’t be bad thing, can it?
When is deadline is rock-solid and imminent, I will always perform. It’s when projects can wait—like the laundry, or rethinking the marketing strategy for my sideline, for example—that I typically find the energy for them when there’s something else I’m supposed to do. That’s how I roll (as they say on the UD), and I refuse to beat myself up about it because in the end everything always gets done.
That said, super long-term procrastination can be a huge problem. My happiness guru Gretchen Rubin writes a lot about this topic on her blog, The Happiness Project. Here are her top tips:
Gretchen Rubin’s Top 7 Ways To Avoid Procrastinating
1. Do It First Thing In The Morning.
2. Try Doing It Every Day.
3. Have Someone Keep You Company.
4. Make Preparations, Assemble The Proper Tools.
6. First Things First.
7. Reflect On The Great Feeling You’ll Get When You’ve Finished.
For specifics on how to implement these ideas, visit Rubin’s blog, www.thehappinessproject.com, or check out her article on the huffingtonpost.com —Annabel Lee