Productivity Through Procrastination

[article]
Summary:

Procrastination is sometimes called the putting-it-off disease. However, I think procrastination is vastly underrated. I rarely get as much done as when I'm putting off doing something I really don't want to do. It's amazing how many things I can find to do.

Procrastination is sometimes called the putting-it-off disease. However, I think procrastination is vastly underrated. I rarely get as much done as when I'm putting off doing something I really don't want to do. It's amazing how many things I can find to do.

When I finally face the dreaded task-much, much closer to the deadline-I complete the job is less time than if I'd started earlier, for the simple reason that I have no choice. There's less time to spend and therefore less time to waste. And I can't honestly say I'd have done a better job by starting yesterday, or last week, or (gulp) when I first acquired the task. More likely, I'd have taken longer than the job really needed. So for me, putting things off actually saves time. (Do you like this reasoning?)

But how can you get started if you're facing a chore you really have to start sooner rather than later? One trick for converting a putting-it-off mentality into a getting-it-done reality is to divide the task into small, manageable chunklets. Then select one such chunklet. It can be the first chunklet in sequence or your favorite chunklet of the whole miserable lot or one you select at random from a grab bag of chunklets. Any chunklet will do.

Commit to spend a mere 10 or 15 minutes on the selected chunklet. A three-hour job can be horrendous to think about-and a three-day job nearly intolerable. But a 10-minute task just can't be all that bad. So spend 10 minutes on it, then put it away, and later on (or next week, if you're really addicted to procrastination) tackle it for another 10 or 15 minutes. Or start on another chunklet.

If you're reading this blog post as a way to put off tackling your own dreaded do-its, by all means, let me not discourage you. In fact, if you'd like to continue procrastinating after you finish this post, you can always read my other posts or some of the articles on my website. It'll prove you're a Procrastination Pro.

User Comments

4 comments
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous

Good post. I am going to get some coffee and sit down to read more posts than do things i need to get done.

November 22, 2010 - 7:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous

Thanks, Shilpa. I think I'll do the same! ~Naomi

November 22, 2010 - 7:14pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous

The benefits of a positive form of Procrastination is vastly unknown. Its called Creative Procrastination. I read about and in my experience most of the complex tasks gets better done while breaking the monster tasks in to manageable pieces and purposely procrastinating inbetween. Afterall, it is very natural for human mind to wander once in a while and the best way (which i found) is to let the mind wander once in a while and once that urge of mind is satisfied, come back and focus on task at hand. <br>Have written about my learnings about procrastination here: http://anujmagazine.blogspot.com/2010/06/can-procrastination-be-positive-trait.html

November 23, 2010 - 4:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous

Anuj, what you say makes good sense. Thanks for providing the link to your blog post. Interesting info! ~Naomi

November 23, 2010 - 4:24pm

About the author

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten

Naomi Karten is a highly experienced speaker and seminar leader who draws from her psychology and IT backgrounds to help organizations improve customer satisfaction, manage change, and strengthen teamwork. She has delivered seminars and keynotes to more than 100,000 people internationally. Naomi's newest books are Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals and Changing How You Manage and Communicate Change. Her other books and ebooks include Managing Expectations, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them, and How to Survive, Excel and Advance as an Introvert. Readers have described her newsletter, Perceptions & Realities, as lively, informative, and a breath of fresh air. She is a regular columnist for StickyMinds.com. When not working, Naomi's passion is skiing deep powder. Contact her at naomi@nkarten.com or via her Web site, www.nkarten.com.

AgileConnection is one of the growing communities of the TechWell network.

Featuring fresh, insightful stories, TechWell.com is the place to go for what is happening in software development and delivery.  Join the conversation now!

Upcoming Events

Nov 09
Nov 09
Apr 13
May 03