I have been meaning to write a post about procrastination but keep putting it off!
Many years ago my husband introduced me to his concept of productive procrastination. I thought he was very clever, coming up with a rationale for not doing what he should be doing yet getting something else done instead. He is indeed a very clever man, but thanks to the internet I now realize this concept is very well known and practiced by many.
Productive procrastination can be defined as: Doing stuff to keep busy while avoiding what really needs doing; refraining from doing what needs to be done by wasting time doing other less important stuff that also needs to be done; getting lots done in an attempt to avoid doing something else; and… Well, you get the idea. It is similar to the concept of structured procrastination, which I just read about online, which seems to just be an intentional act to get things done while putting something off. As one person describes it, you exploit your procrastination to be productive in other ways. Hmm. Maybe it is all just an excuse for avoidance.
Everyone procrastinates sometime. It doesn’t matter if it is a part of your personality that shows up in everything you do, like the person who believes he does his best work under pressure. Or if you are like me, very action oriented, over organized, and an uber-planner. Even I have those times when I put things off. Of course for me it is often accompanied by guilt because I really know I should be cleaning out the garage but instead I am going to fold the laundry and vacuum the living room. All great activities, but I know that I really am using those to avoid what I don’t want to do. I can come up with a lot of productive ways to avoid cleaning toilets!
Some days I put off exercising. The dirty dishes call to me. “Come put us away; the treadmill doesn’t love you like we do. Why work that hard when you can simply load the dishwasher. We need attention too.” Some days I just don’t want to get my errands done so instead decide to clean the refrigerator. Yes, I have. And can I just say that my blog has provided a great excuse not to get other things done! Here I sit:)
Productive procrastination can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what you put off and what you get done. When all is said and done, your desk is clean, your floor is mopped, but you haven’t done your taxes. Hmm. Time for me to put away the keyboard.