Did you know that procrastination can boost your productivity? Procrastination may be defined as the art of putting off till tomorrow what you should be doing today. It means avoiding making a decision, leaving things until the very last minute, and sometimes not doing them even then. We’ve all done it and, generally, we feel guilty about it because it means that we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re wasting time, or so we think, and in today’s productivity-obsessed world, there are few greater sins.
With this in mind, it seems illogical to suggest that procrastination can boost productivity. Surely the opposite is true? Well, it depends mainly on how you procrastinate. Productive procrastination, or structured procrastination, is a respectable psychological concept and not just an excuse for twiddling your thumbs and waiting for that spreadsheet to take care of itself. You just need to know how to manage it.
Procrastination has its place
Working long hours, or seeming to be working hard, doesn’t necessarily equal maximum productivity or maximum efficiency. It also doesn’t necessarily lend itself to creative, sparkling, original work, if that’s what you’re after. Sometimes, you do just need to put in the hours and slog away. Occasional drudgery is unavoidable, and if that’s the case, you just need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.
However, if you find yourself procrastinating, it probably means you’re engaged in the kind of mentally demanding work that gives you the luxury of procrastination. You don’t get to procrastinate much on the building site, but you’ll find plenty of procrastinators in the office. And the urge to procrastinate might mean that your brain just isn’t ready to start the work yet.
Procrastination allows your subconscious mind to work on the task unobtrusively while your conscious mind is distracted by other things. Starting too soon could mean that the work suffers. It may mean many false starts and spending time changing or undoing what you’ve already done before starting again.
Procrastination could mean letting inspiration come, letting ideas percolate, and settle. It could also mean assessing the challenges ahead and considering different angles to approach them. Reframing procrastination as brainstorming allows you to build up a head of steam until you finally see what you have to do and do it fast. Work done at speed can be more inspired and immediate than work crafted at leisure. Sometimes if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing quickly.
Take a break
Sometimes too, it can be better to take a complete break and return to a project later than to keep working unproductively, getting increasingly bogged down and frustrated. A great way to relax could be to visit the best New Jersey online casinos on your phone or PC, where you can enjoy the best casino table games and slots. You can then come back to your work with a fresh pair of eyes. And although you might feel pressured, there’s nothing like being up against a deadline to inspire creativity. Furthermore, focusing on something else like a game can help kick-start your brain and boost your ability to problem-solve.
Do something else
Procrastination can make you more productive generally, as to avoid doing the task at hand, you may find yourself doing many other jobs you’ve previously been putting off. You find you’re suddenly inspired or driven in a different direction – and all the time, you may still be mentally working on the original job as well. Your best ideas in one area can often arrive when you’re working on something completely different.
Having a to-do list means you can quickly shift from one job to another while procrastinating. Break down big tasks into manageable pieces, and prioritize: what needs doing today and what can be done tomorrow? Time management is the key to successful procrastinating.
The trick is to not procrastinate by scrolling guiltily through Facebook, growing ever more anxious and stressed, but to do something useful or something completely relaxing. Having one big, challenging job that you’re avoiding makes all those smaller jobs seem much more achievable and even appealing. Alternatively, head for the gym or allow yourself an hour of unapologetic me time so that you can come back refreshed and revitalized. Sometimes a power nap might even be required.
Many of the great geniuses who shaped our world were notorious procrastinators. You may not be a genius, but you can still benefit from postponing the work until it’s ready to be done. In the meantime, you might find that you’ve got more done than you ever expected.