Productive Procrastination

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.

And you?



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15 responses to “Productive Procrastination

  1. Is there a club for this??…I think I need to join! What an interesting post, thanks!

  2. lol.. I do this all the time. One of the reasons I did so well as a journalist is because I had deadlines. It’s almost like a game… let’s see how stressed out I can make myself by leaving everything until the last minute. haha!

  3. sunnydaze

    Cute post. Luckily, I’m not much of a procrastinator. I don’t like things looming over my head. I like to do them and get them over with – I like the relief of having the dreaded things done.

  4. I totally agree-procrastination is something everyone does, but sometimes it’s needed. In college, I was really good at procrastinating and then, suddenly, finishing a 15 page paper in one night. Thank God I learned not to do that too much…

    Thanks for the blog comment too 🙂 I really appreciate it.

  5. You had to mention the taxes, didn’t you?! 😛

  6. There are probably things I’d never get done if it wasn’t for things I wanted to avoid doing. 🙂

  7. I’ve heard that procrastination is a form of perfectionism in that we don’t want to do anything at all until we can do it perfectly! I was very disconcerted by that since I tend to overdo things too, over-cleaning, over-organizing, but until I do, everything’s a total disaster!

    The way around it is to let yourself do a little bit, just what you can do one day, not have to take on the mountain.

    Thanks for an interesting post!

  8. Maybe next time your don’t want to get on the treadmill you can turn on some music and dance around the kitchen while doing the dishes. That can count as exercise, right? LOL!

  9. I should be writing my post…But I’m doing this instead. And avoiding my dishes all at the same time. So selective I am.

  10. I actually don’t like putting things off… and I always am glad when I do whatever it was that I kept avoiding. Sounds a bit like knowing I should eat well or exercise yet not doing it but being glad when I did. Hmmm.

    I need to consider that perfectionism idea.

  11. I’m not usually a procrastinator, but I did put off getting serious about my health and weight loss for about 5 or 6 years!!!

  12. I used to do this a lot- now I say working out is number one and just do it. Right now I am procrastinating on paying some bills- but that’s cuz I know I have time lol. The plan is to pay them tonight 🙂 It’s gonna happen I swear!

  13. Oh yes, serial procrastinator here. Sometimes I’m okay with it, as long as I’m getting other things done, but every now and then I have to force myself to stay with the to-do list.

  14. Hmm…never quite thought about it that way. I do see we have something in common. I am an over organized plan happy person too. It can be annoying at times, since I’m not very spontaneous. OK…I’m not spontaneous at all…lol.

    Guess I should quit blogging (procrastinating) and clean up the kitchen 🙂

  15. My house is a disaster. Some days I think I can’t get it all done. But maybe I’m just procrastinating the inevitable… I had never thought of it that way. 🙂

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