Thursday, January 12, 2006

Good ways to Procrastinate and when Procrastination might be good

I was at MacWorld yesterday in San Francisco. I am inspired by their new products and in awe of iPod success. Sifting through all the Apple compatible stuff is almost overwhelming. We are very strong in the Apple and iPod market.

I had an article re-published on Tony Wiseman’s blog. Always flattering.

Good ways to Procrastinate and when Procrastination might be good.

I wrote the following last weekend but did not post it:

I am writing this with the din of jackhammers in background. I am working on the weekend (surprising at that might be); feeling sorry for myself that I cannot get good quiet uninterrupted time in like I had planned.

I thought I would write a blog post on Procrastination since that is what I am doing now. I have more important things to do (please don’t take offence). I am going into a heavy travel schedule so like to have a few posts written or at least roughed out so I can post quickly while I am on the road. So writing a post is not a terrible use of time.

I started thinking about when procrastination might be good and came up with many types of good procrastination.

The rules of Good Procrastination.

1 – Procrastinate or leave something if it is likely to resolve itself if you take no action. Of course in this case, it likely should not even be on your list and should not be a priority.

2 – Procrastinate if letting something “stew” will lead to a better solution. In this case, I tend to not do nothing on it, rather I spend a while to organize it, think about it, write a few ideas down etc. Ideas tend to incubate better if some thought has gone into it before they are left.

3 – If you must procrastinate, do something else on your list that might be lower priority but still needs doing. This is like asking your child, do you want to wear the red hat or the blue one. Not do you want to wear a hat. Choose from 2 or more tasks – all that need doing.

4 – Procrastinate if you need a break. Sometimes productivity is an order of magnitude better if you are properly in flow and have the right energy, creativity etc.

5 – Sometimes I procrastinate on the big part of the job by doing the smaller parts around it. For example, rather than do my taxes (which I hate), I might just collect and organize things or set up a meeting with my accountant. Choose a part of the job that is not as ugly.

6 – Procrastinate by doing the more important task. This seems counter intuitive since good time management says you always work on the highest priority task (and you should be). What I often find is I am working on tasks that are causing me stress (so I want to procrastinate) only to realize, there are likely other more important tasks to do that I enjoy doing.

7 – Procrastinate if someone else is likely to do it (or if you can get them to do it). Of course, I never said I was a marriage counselor. Leaving the dishes or cleaning for you spouse might not be such a good idea – now hiring – that’s another idea.

Most of all, if you procrastinate, do not feel guilty. This only detracts from the “good” of it.

Still, working on something that is not your highest priority too often is not a good habit to get into. One of my favourite time management authors, Alan Lakein, says to always ask “What is the best use of my time right now?”.. So back to work.

4 Comments:

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous andy bailey said...

I like your points, I came to the same conclusion by accident and wrote an article called "how to have a really clean house when you suffer from procrastination".
http://blog.teamplaylotto.com/?p=81

doing something else that has a lesser priority (for me, tidying up the house!) at least means that something gets done!

 
At 8:17 PM, Blogger Gerhard Peters said...

Jim
I'm procrastinating right by reading your blog - And I'm learning how to procrastinate from you ideas
Isn't life good?

 
At 7:15 PM, Blogger Jason Cohen said...

Great points. It's also good in business; I just wrote a short piece on how it helped me in my bootstrapped startup company.

 
At 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Procrastinating does not allow the mind to catch up with the spirit. It deplets value to mundane.NOW BACK TO MY PRESENTATION ABOUT procrastination.

 

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