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.
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.
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.
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.