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If You’re Going to Procrastinate, Be Productive While You Wait

The problem with procrastination is that people procrastinate ineffectively. There’s no reason to resort to watching YouTube videos just so that you can pass the time. Use the free time you’ve created via procrastination wisely. Get some worthwhile things accomplished!

When I find that I ‘waste’ time, I usually feel a sense of guilt around it. When I use that spare time to do something worthwhile (or do nothing intentionally) I feel more gratitude towards doing what I think is right.

Another benefit of using that free time for something is that you’ll be creating additional free time that can be used later to do the task you should be doing right now.

Minimize the effects of procrastination by procrastinating wisely:

  1. Do a little housekeeping. Not quite in the mood to get to your real work? That’s fine. Vacuum the floor. Scrub the toilet. Take out the garbage. Wash the dishes. Mow the grass. Mop the floor. Spruce up the place.
  2. Answer important emails. Address your overflowing inbox and put a dent in it. Avoid the purely social emails and take care of the most important ones first.
  3. Schedule your future. Do you need to make a doctor’s appointment, set a meeting for next week, or make plans to rotate your tires? The middle of a procrastination session is the perfect time to address these issues.
  4. Check up on a friend or your parents. They probably complain that you don’t call enough. Stop playing that game on your phone and use it to make an actual phone call. Your friends and family will be happy to hear from you.
  5. Make important phone calls. These seem to go hand-in-hand with important emails. They pile up quickly and are rarely enjoyable to deal with. However, they seem more interesting when you’re procrastinating.
  6. Run an errand. Hop in the car and pick up your dry cleaning. Buy your mom’s birthday present, even if it’s not for three months. Drop off your overdue books at the library and run before they inform you that you have a fine to pay.
  7. Going for a jog might seem like torture, but it actually sounds a little fun compared to working on a PowerPoint presentation. Exercise is a great way to avoid feeling guilty while you procrastinate.
  8. Go see human resources. Check on your beneficiaries. Perhaps you need to boost your life insurance. Maybe you need to reallocate your 401(k). It’s been over a year.
  9. You know that networking is important to your career and your social life. Everyone should spend some time each week networking. Now might be the right time to reach out to someone.
  10. Your mind and body require rest. A little nap now will give you more energy later that you can put to good use. You could also use the time to meditate, read, or listen to music.
  11. Pay bills. Sit down at your computer and make those payments on time for a change.
  12. Clear your computer of clutter. Does your computer desktop have any free space, or is it covered with icons and shortcuts? Have you defragged your hard drive lately? Deleted your spam email? Do you need to delete obsolete files?
  • Clean up your computer. All that mess is causing stress. Notice how much better you feel when you’re done.

Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone procrastinates wisely. Ensure that the time you spend procrastinating doesn’t go to waste. Avoiding a task doesn’t have to equate to wasting your time. Use your time in the next, most effective manner. Take care of your other tasks while you’re waiting for your procrastination to end.

Time is your most valuable resource. Don’t waste it!

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7 Comments

  1. Alice Gerard on January 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Here are a few more: Read a book. Draw a picture. Crochet. Practice dance steps. Relax and just be. You don’t have to be busy all of the time. Everyone needs a little bit of “me” time. Then your busy time will feel more productive.

    • Paul on January 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Absolutely, Alice! There are times when it is fine to have that downtime – just use it wisely! Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Anne Zarraonandia on January 7, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I love to find ways to be productive and meet procrastination head on! I do a small cleaning everyday and what do you know a whole room is done. After the holidays there is always so much stuff lying around. I’ve been putting things away little by little and it really does improve one’s mood without the clutter. Great blog post! Lots of great tips Paul!

    • Paul on January 7, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Anne! Inch by inch, it’s a cinch!

  3. Jane Porterfield on January 8, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    That dirty P word… uck. When I’m procrastinating, it’s usually because my motivation is at a low point. BUT, just getting up and doing something is usually enough to get me going. On Thursday of last week, I was really struggling, but I decided to start stripping down the Christmas tree and that led to loading and running the dishwasher and cleaning the bathroom sink. So all it takes is the first step (if you can start it).

    I suffer from depression and PTSD, so shorter days are hard on me and I really, really need to push myself to even get out of bed some days. But it never fails – if I can get up the gumption to do just one thing, it makes all the difference in the world.

  4. Menaka Bharathi on January 8, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Very useful tips, I need to declutter my computer. I thin k I better do it soon

    • Paul on January 10, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      I think that is a good suggestion for a lot of people!

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