7 ways to use procrastination to your advantage

Dealing with procrastinationProcrastination is one of the biggest reasons you are never going to reach your goals.

When you have defined a goal but don’t take any action towards it, the whole goal setting process has been pretty much useless.

Procrastination is often associated with negative feelings too. For example, you might be blaming yourself for not taking action on something. You feel intimidated and inferior for procrastinating on the task.

However, what is also true is that we do not always have to be productivity superstars (we all procrastinate at times).

In fact, we can use procrastination to our advantage. When we channel our procrastination the right way, we get something else done.

1. Procrastinate on right things

The first tip is something that I learned from Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog. There he talked about procrastinating on low value task, so that you can focus on high value tasks instead.

To do this, you should constantly review your actions and decide, if there is a task that could be safely abandoned.

For example, you could decide to procrastinate on watching television (like news) or read newspapers and do something useful during that time (like reading a book).

2. Get stuff deleted off your task list

Sometimes I have realized that postponing a task can actually reduce the items on my task list.

For instance, I have created a list of things to do. Then for some reason, it may not be possible to start a task right away or I have been focusing on just something unessential, but no the actual task itself.

Eventually, when I’m ready to get started, I have realized that it is not necessary to do the task anymore. Whether there was a time limit that exceeded or someone else already took care of it, I can safely delete the task off my list.

3. Create a plan for solving/implementing a task

If you are not sure on how to solve or implement a task, take some extra time (procrastinate) to have your plan right.

Sometimes it is possible, that you need some extra time to organize your thoughts and get a better understanding of the topic before doing any implementation work.

Use this extra time for making a plan (just a rough one will do) on how you are going to get started. In fact, many times I have realized that having a perfect plan in advance may not be the best way to start.

When you finally get started, the “how” will reveal itself to you – at the right time.

4. Prepare for something big

There are times when you are not ready to take action right away. In fact, you need to prepare mentally in advance to a task or an event.

For example, you would like to ask the raise from your boss, but you are afraid to do that. You find excuses for not entering the office of your boss. You are procrastinating on the task.

However, you could decide to take that procrastination as preparation time.  Go through the situation beforehand in your mind, so you can be better prepared of what to say and of the possible outcomes (getting the raise or if you get rejected).

5. Get something else done

When you procrastinate, you should channel your energy to other tasks instead. For instance, if you have to call a client, but don’t want to do it (at least not yet), you could decide to handle some other, minor level tasks out of your way first.

This way, you are not completely slacking off. You are just focusing on minor tasks, until you are ready to do the most important task.

6. Read

Don’t feel like doing the presentation for the customer just yet? Then pick up the business or the personal development book on your desk that can improve your business skills or yourself as a person.

Also, when you read, it might give you some ideas on how to do the postponed task (like that presentation) in a smarter, more creative and more efficient way.

7. Relax

Finally, take some time to relax and get some rest, if you find yourself postponing on the task. If you are tired and stressed, starting on a task may not be a good idea.

Instead, recharge your batteries and have more determination to crush that task you procrastinate on.

Conclusion

As you can see, procrastination is not always a bad thing. However, in order to make it serve you, you have to re-channel your energy to something else, if you find yourself procrastinating.

Use procrastination to get something else done, if you are not ready to tackle the important task yet.

Your next tasks:

1. Put this blog post into action!

  • Identify the situations when you procrastinate
  • Find alternative actions to take, when you procrastinate (for example the ones on this post)

2. Share your experiences and tips on the comment area:

  • When do you most likely procrastinate? In which situations?
  • What do you do when you procrastinate? Do you take the time for your advantage?

3. Spread the word:

I would appreciate it if you share this post on Twitter or on Facebook.

Comments

  1. Saying yes to something does always, always mean saying no to something else.
    That is why creative procrastination is so important. Take an active decision to what you are doing to procrastinate on.

    Great article Timo!

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Daniel,

      Thank you :)

      I agree. I think that it is important to be aware of procrastinating in the first place – and when you decide to choose that path, that it is a conscious decision.

      At the same time, you realize that it is only a temporary solution and you focus your energy on something else.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  2. Hi Timo, your title drew me in! (great copywriting!)

    Couldn’t imagine how you would turn procrastination into a positive, but I see what you mean. I like the idea of procrastinating on the less important things, but I think maybe it depends on the project. I tend to procrastinate when I’m uncertain or have never done something before. Call it a fear of doing something new, I don’t know! :-)

    Also like the idea of picking up a book to get you going. I do that often.

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Great post as always!

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Thank you, I’m happy to hear that you liked these tips!

      It seems that my copywriting skills are getting better :)

      I’m not a fan of procrastination at all, but when that mood hits me, I try to take the full advantage of it.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  3. Smita Samal says:

    Timo,

    I think I do all these without realizing it until now. Thanks for listing it out in such a constructive way. I mostly procrastinate on a task that requires me to concentrate for few hours at length to get going and most of the times i’m multi-tasking, so i put the task away until i can give my full undivided attention. Sometimes it may be the task at hand is complicated and I’m not fully sold on the design. As you have mentioned, procrastination totally works for me. Lol… This makes me feel less guilty…:)

    Thanks
    Smita

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Smita,

      Great that I could help you :)

      Yes, sometimes you can use procrastination to your advantage :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  4. Hey Timo,

    What an interesting approach for dealing with procrastination LOL

    I think I do this all the time, the only thing that I see it would be bad, it’s when I definitely don’t want to do a particular task and I just keep finding stuff to do just in order to NOT do the one that bothers me.

    Really great tips, I guess I never had thought about it this way.

    Have a great weekend!

    Sergio

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Sergio,

      Thank you and thanks for stopping by!

      It’s all about channeling your energy to something else and feel productive that way.

      Obviously you want to tackle that difficult task off your list at some point, but taking advantage of the “procrastination time” is the next best option.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  5. Hi Timo,

    Great tips. I just came over after reading Brian’s post about you over at BlogEngage and I am glad I did. Like so many others, I too struggle with productivity and I think I juts hit the jackpot when it comes to increasing productivity. Every where I look, you have got practical and useful information. Expect to see me here often. Thanks and nice to “meet you”.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Satrap!

      Thank you for your comments! I’m glad to hear you like these posts helpful :)

      Do you have any specific productivity topic you would like me to cover in future posts?

      Cheers,
      Timo

      • Hi Timo,

        Thanks for the welcome.To be honest, my biggest problem is sticking with plans. I write to do lists to combat the issue and get more don. But, I always find ways (excuses) to not go through with them. I give up after a few days, weeks or months.

        Although I do get things done, I am not very organized. Its kind of crazy, because I am a very organized person in real life. And I would love to work and get things done in an organize manor. Thats why I create to do lists. But I just feel like, I spend more time creating these lists than actually working on the tasks in the list.

        Maybe whenever you get a chance, you could cover this issue. That would be great. Thanks again Timo.

Speak Your Mind

*