Jan 29, 2014

Productive Procrastination, It Exists

By Glip


Even though my journey towards achieving productivity and beating procrastination is still in progress, my sister on the other hand happens to be one of the most organized and productive people I know. For the sake of giving you advice that is tried and triumphant, I have interviewed her for some very helpful tips.


The Record, Divide, and Conquer Strategy
We all have those weeks where all our projects, assignments, familial duties, and life-long aspirations decide to pile up against us, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and highly unaccomplished.

Although this may sound too simple, recording what you need to do and when allows you some form of control over the numerous duties being thrown at you constantly. Both my sister and I can attest to the fact that writing down your tasks will make you feel better.

Divide your Tasks into Three Categories:
Group A: Tasks that are very simplistic and can be done even during a severe brain fart.
E.g. Replying to emails, making appointments, returning phone calls, etc.

Group B: Tasks that require some thinking or breaking down, or have prerequisite steps to them, but not to the point that they give you a few gray hairs.
E.g. Figuring out the complicated logistics of ordering a product online, chores, etc.

Group C: These tasks may be real brain teasers or things that you know you will struggle with. These tasks require patience, critical thinking, and great focus.
E.g. Writing a term paper or speech, putting together a lesson plan or workshop, etc.

While it is nice to organize our many duties, there is still no guarantee that they will get done. Getting things done should be the ultimate objective. This is where strategy comes in.


The whole reason for categorizing your personal chores complies with my sister’s “Productive Procrastination” philosophy.

This is how it works; all the tasks on your list need to get done, correct?

Well, each group of tasks also represents a certain energy level, the simplistic “A” tasks requiring less energy and the multi-faceted “C” tasks requiring more. The aim of this philosophy is to get you to complete the tasks that match the energy level you have at a given time.

So, for example, if you are an energetic morning person, it would make sense that you do your “C” tasks towards the start of your day, while postponing your “A” tasks towards the more lethargic parts of your day.

This is where the “Productive Procrastination” title comes into play; now, let us say you are experiencing a writer’s block and have been staring at a blank Microsoft document screen for the past fifteen minutes. DO NOT JUST SIT THERE!

Procrastinate that writing assignment to a time where you have more energy and a clearer mind, and move on to scheduling your long-needed dentist appointment and doing your laundry. While you are pushing away one task, and for a good reason, you are still being productive by knocking out other items on your to-do list.

If you are a major procrastinator like me, you sometimes just do not have the luxury of switching over to another less demanding task for the moment because your assignment is due in a few hours. At that point, not much can be done. But some preventive measures can be taken to lessen the chance of you nearly becoming toast again.


Pre-planning is the Way Yes, pre-planning. Creating blocks of time for each task ahead of time to ensure that things get done. Assigning days and times to get a task done helps you break down the task itself, which is a step that I find most useful when attempting to cover “C” group tasks. Pre-planning also places you three steps ahead, allowing you the luxury of shifting gears depending on how you feel or adjust to unforeseen events.

Start by placing vague deadlines within the month, and then be more specific in your weekly plans. On a daily basis, be extremely detailed in what you plan to cover. My sister advises that at the end of each day, set some of the goals and tasks you plan to cover the following day and reflect on your productivity; what kept you from doing what you needed to do, and what pushed you forward?

Using a Google Calendar is highly recommended, one of the reasons being that Google will email you reminders for anything you input into your calendar.

Another perk of taking on this strategy is that it allows you to make time for what you LIKE to do as well. We all want that “ME-time” so bad, and when we finally get it, we just do not know what to do with ourselves. Creating a list of things to do during your free time, after blocking it out in your calendar, will help you set a balance of both work and play.

I imagine you might be saying this: “Well, this is great. But the motivation to do this task has yet to hit me. My fingers are still not flowing rhythmically on my keyboard to produce an eloquent piece of writing.”

And my sister is quick to point this out: No one can make you do your work. But many times our hesitation is due to some emotional reservations we have about a certain task to be done.

For example, I personally am very nervous when it comes to public speaking, as most people are. My anxiety and nerves will repeatedly make me resist writing my debate arguments and rebuttals. The issue is not so much about the task itself, but the reason behind our reluctance.

The solution is simply to break it down. Figure out why you are resisting getting the job done, and then do what you feel will help you resolve the issue best. If the reason is your nerves, make some duaa and the more you focus on preparation, the better your work will turn out. In this situation, the ball is in your court and it is up to you to figure out how to refocus and remain confident. My sister, as the productivity guru, says, “Sometimes you gotta pull a Nike and just do it!”

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


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