For those who follow Getting Things Done or any other kind of a productivity system, you know what I mean if I use the phrase “productivity guilt.” You have something on your schedule that you’re supposed to be doing, or some task that is on your to-do list, and you just don’t want to get around to doing it. What to do? You could try to psych yourself up and convince yourself to want to do it, or you can try to use sheer willpower to force yourself through it. I’m here to tell you that there is another productive option… procrastinate!
The Productivity Guilt When You’re Overworked
This guilt is associated with the overachievers – those who are consistently productive 99.5% of the time, and beat themselves up for the 0.5% of the time when they have a momentary lapse of productivity weakness. Here’s a test to see if you are susceptible to productivity guilt: right now as you are reading this blog, are you saying to yourself, “I should be doing [insert boring task] instead?” OK, I might not be the best writer in the world and it might be me causing it, but do you say this every time you’re not working on a task?
My friend, you have too much on your plate! Lifehack has a nice article on what to do when it’s all too much. Suggestions include being more disciplined, working more efficient, and also procrastination. You’re human and not a machine, and even machines can’t continue when the energy source is all used up. The article suggests putting the task off for later after you have been recharged. Also, procrastination can even be helpful to help weed out unnecessary activities and trim down your list of tasks.
The Productivity Guilt When You’re Feeling Unproductive
Sometimes the productivity guilt occurs when you are faced with a task that you simply just don’t feel like doing at the time. The energy levels with the mind and body fluctuates throughout the day, and we should be mindful of this and plan our schedules accordingly. However, even the best laid plans don’t work as expected, so you’re faced with doing something that you’re not in the mood for. At this point, many people unconsciously procrastinate and gets sidetracked towards some other time-wasting distraction. The best thing to do here is to do pro-active procrastination instead. Clean your desk. Pay your bills. Make a call today that you planned to do tomorrow. Do something that requires a different energy level that you would eventually be doing.
The Discipline of Procrastination
What I am describing is also called structured procrastination – instead of doing nothing, just be doing something else. Professor John Perry of Stanford University’s philosophy department, coined the phrase in his essay and has a web site dedicated to it. A quote from the essay:
The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.
- Prof. John Perry, Stanford University
I believe Professor Perry might be on to a new movement… there are even cool T-shirts with this slogan!
Below are additional articles from other sites on how to procrastinate productively.
- Pick the Brain: 14 Ways To Procrastinate Productively
- Lifehack.org: 10 Ways For Productive Procrastination
- Zen Habits: Unproductivity: 8 Fantabulous Ways to Make the Most of Your Laziest Days
- David Allen (The Huffington Post): The Delights Of “Dummy Work”
Original post here: Al at 7P