Procrastinating Your Way to Productivity

I admit it, I am a very good procrastinator. This trait follows me wherever I go. I’m more than ready to put chores off until tomorrow. One memory stands out from early childhood. My father said to me “you are a procrastinator!” I think it made an impression because it wasn’t a normal word for a 4-year-old to hear. I did take it to heart. I’ve come up with some great ways to actually use my procrastination to be productive. It sounds funny but it works. Try and see for yourself. Maybe you’ll agree that the secret to productivity can be procrastination.

The Substitution

My very favorite method is the substitution. It works like a charm. I procrastinate on one task by doing another. This keeps me very productive and allows me to put things off at the same time. It might sound strange but it really works! I have no shortage of tasks in running my own business, so this method fits my work beautifully. For example, I can procrastinate and not make a new listing for my online store by making a new piece of jewelry. I can put off writing a blog post by making a new listing. The possibilities are endless.

Lists

Writing a list can be a way of procrastinating from work that gets you more focused and productive in the long run. I am a list-making fiend, but the list must be messy and unstructured. I suspect some procrastination arises from the stress of thinking that the day is too short for all the things that need to get done. Just the act of making the list reduces that stress for me, and I usually find myself ready to tackle a task afterward. I also love making lists on scraps of paper, post-it notes, and spiral-bound notebooks. I do not like using nice templates and pre-formatted lists (such as the daily to-do list with neat columns for dividing your life into slots for “exercise,” “errands,” “work,” “play” etc.). Just give me a blank sheet to fill in and I’m good to go. I’ll frequently come up with amazing ideas for completely unrelated things while making my messy lists. I’ll take inspiration wherever it comes from.

Taking a Break

Finally, sometimes I procrastinate by rewarding myself before the work is done. If I have a very busy day ahead and I’m not sure how everything will get done, sometimes I take a deliberate break before tackling the tasks. This break must have a clear beginning and end time and it has to be something that will do you good. Some of my favorite breaks are taking a short walk or tending to the garden. If you time things just right, the 15–20 minutes you take off won’t be enough to keep you from getting your work done. In fact, you should feel so much better after playing hooky that you are incredibly productive when you get back to work.

Substituting one task for another, making a list, and rewarding myself before the job all help me stay focused and productive. Maybe these tricks can help you too!

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