October 6, 2018
by
in Productivity

Procrastination – I am a master at it. Even when I don’t necessarily mean to do it. Even when I know I shouldn’t do it. You’re probably like me too. When was the last time you put off a task for no apparent reason? If you even hit the snooze button this morning for some extended sleep time, join the club.

You’ve also probably heard of the popular saying that; we, humans, are naturally lazy. Whether that’s true or not, I am not sure, but I can tell you this – my procrastination tendencies make me think twice about that statement.

Recently, I stumbled across a clever little book called, “The Art of Procrastination”. Of course, after weeks of putting it off, I eventually bought the book and I couldn’t believe my luck. Here, I had stumbled across a writer who not only admitted to being a chronic procrastinator but he had also devised a way through which chronic procrastinators such as himself, can turn their unique gift into productivity.

In his book, John Perry introduces us to a mind-blowing concept- structured procrastination. Here is what he says on the topic:

“One of the things that gets procrastinators in trouble is this idea that we all have free will and if we don’t have a strong will we’re some kind of crumb bum.”

He goes on to point out that in life, most people only get by through pushing themselves with tools such as alarm clocks and to-do-lists. This shows us that procrastination is not an indication of weak will. We all fight to control our tendency to put off things but this does not necessarily mean that we are lazy. In fact, to support this, new research is coming to light that procrastination is not necessarily as a result of laziness.

So, at this point, you are probably wondering…

What makes us procrastinate?

There are many reasons why you suddenly feel allergic to work when assigned a task. According to several psychologists, we procrastinate for several reasons. We procrastinate either because we fear failure, suffer from perfectionism or fear success. The reasons vary from one individual to another.

Although the reasons do vary, procrastination has been observed to follow distinct pattern. Procrastination often leads to an endless cycle of anxiety, avoidance shame and guilt. Fortunately for us, there are several simple ways to break the cycle.

Below are 4 simple tips to keep you motivated while facing a task:

How to procrastinate and still get things done

Procrastination is not as bad as most people think. Did you know that being a procrastinator can actually make you more productive? In fact, I reckon that if you just simply organize yourself, your procrastination tendencies will evolve into something a little similar to a relaxed but productive day.

Be an active procrastinator

In his book, The Art of Procrastination, John Perry explores the productive side of procrastination. He calls it, being an active procrastinator.

Answer this: are you the type of procrastinator who puts off tasks to run other essential errands or do you putt off tasks to aimlessly scroll through social media? If you fall in the latter category, you have probably observed that your procrastination rarely culminates into productivity.

This is because when you sit around aimlessly scrolling through social media, you are not preparing your body for the task ahead. However, if you procrastinate in order to complete another essential task, you are encouraging your body to stay in ‘productive-mode’.

Manage your delays

As a procrastinator, you probably already know what I mean by, “manage your delays.” When you find yourself faced with an important decision to make, always delay your decision until the last possible moment. In this case, procrastination is not about ignoring responsibility. Rather, it is all about making an educated decision.

You see, when you procrastinate, you allow yourself some additional time to weight the options and think through any possible decisions. You’d be surprised how many executives, athletes or even politicians have changed their lives through last minute decisions rather than relying on speedy, gut-check picks.

Prioritize your tasks

Nothing is more tempting than procrastinating your work even though you are on a tight deadline. If you suffer from this tendency, I have a great tip for you-prioritize.

It is impossible to complete all your tasks well when you are feeling the pressure of a looming deadline. In such cases, you must prioritize your tasks. Work on the important or crucial assignments before you move on to less urgent tasks. You will be surprised by how much work you can get done in this way.

Work more efficiently

Just recently, my mentor shared with me a clever little productivity trick. This trick is based on the fact that we often wear ourselves down by working for long hours and producing very little valuable work. You can become a more efficient person by using the 30-minute productivity rule.

This simply means that for 30 minutes, you fully concentrate on your task at hand then take a short break for 10 minutes. You can do this until you completely finish the task at hand.  After just a few days of implementing this little tip, my productivity has significantly improved. The best part about this is that I am rarely tired but somehow have always had all my work done.

Lets wrap it up.

Finally, you should embrace your unique gift of putting off important tasks until the last minute. As you can see, your procrastination might just turn you into a productive little robot. It all comes down to clever planning and manipulation.

So what do you think? Are you feeling confident about tackling your procrastination tendencies to the ground? Feel free to share any productivity tips you may have. For example, what are some procrastination tips that have worked for you in the past?

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