Screen shot 2011-12-02 at 5.58.12 PM

3 Ways to Make the Most Out of Procrastinating

In an ideal world, we’d do everything on time every time and still have time left over to eat, sleep, travel, and play.

In the real world, we simply procrastinate…

We know we shouldn’t put things off but we do it anyway. The next time you identify a good project to “do later” be sure to apply these 3 tips. They’ll save you from those feelings of guilt, inefficiency, and dread that plague even the most seasoned procrastinator.

Tip 1: Enjoy It

Don’t spend valuable procrastination time feeling guilty about what you’re not doing. Enjoy yourself. When it comes down to the wire and you’re sweating bullets to meet a deadline, you’ll have lots of beautiful memories to make it all worth it.

How:

  • If you’re genuinely a worry wart, create a plan for completing the task so you can relax about not getting to it right away.
  • Consider doing something semi-productive like cleaning, getting organized, re-connecting with old acquaintances, eating, learning a new dance, practicing your Latin, or even completing other neglected tasks.
  • Make a list of things that you did while procrastinating. You’ll need this list to be able to sleep at night with a clear conscience.

 

Life is short. There’s no point putting something off if you’re going to feel guilty about it the whole time.

 

Tip 2: Create an Efficient System of Reminders

It will make you feel like you’ve at least done something toward completing the task at hand. If you’re lucky, doing this will also help you get started on the task sooner rather than later.

How:

  • Step 1: Pick your favorite reminders (a good combo is using the alarm or calendar feature on your phone, the calendar in Microsoft Outlook, and snooze-able electronic sticky notes).
  • Step 2: Stagger the reminders. If something is due on Friday, set the first alarm to go off seven days in advance. Set the second reminder to go off five days in advance. Set the third one to go off three days in advance.
  • Step 3: Snooze all the reminders as necessary (or until you start to feel like a bum for snoozing three different reminders). Then get started on the task.
  • Step 4: Continue using this system consistently until you become desensitized to all your reminders.
  • Step 5: Go back to step 1 and choose a new combination of reminders.

In other words, plan your procrastination in advance. Yes, I just used “plan” and “procrastination” in the same sentence. You can do it. I believe in you.

Tip3: Once You Start, Don’t Stop!

Do you know when procrastination morphs into a beastly problem? It’s when we try to procrastinate twice on the same activity. Don’t do it. Once you start a task, complete it. No excuses.

How:

  • Start the task with the end in mind. Decide on your stopping point and do not relent until you achieve it.
  • Play motivating music. I’m too embarrassed to publicly disclose what I consider to be “motivating music” but you know yourself. Play whatever gets adrenaline revving through your veins.
  • When you’re done, take pride in your work. If you can’t take pride in the outcome of the task, maybe it wasn’t even worth the effort to begin with (in which case procrastination was a sign of good judgment on your part).

This third rule is challenging at first but, with practice, it quickly becomes second nature. Once you start, just keep going until the job is done.

Bottom Line

Putting things off should never be a half-butted affair. If you’re going to procrastinate, go all out and use these three tips to excel at it.

 

Normally, this line should tell you who I am and what I do but I like you. And all I really want is for you to go on Facebook and fall madly in like with me too. If you prefer, we can always just chirp at one another on Twitter.

 

 

Related Articles:

A Smarter Approach To Time Management

Tips For Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits

Image courtesy of: Miss Britty

 

  • Nido Nana

    This is something I truuuly neeeded   THanks Kolaaa,,:)

    • http://www.betamotivation.com Kola

      glad to hear it, Nido! 
      :) 

  • http://www.ContentEqualsMoney.com Amie Marse

    Great thoughts! I do tend to procrastinate but I try location specific things. For example, I am going to sit in here and watch X show – but then I am going to sit at my desk until this is done. I work from home and I still close the office door just for a physical/mental boundary. It’s lovely :)

    • http://www.betamotivation.com Kola

      that’s a great idea, Amie! I use a modified version myself. glad to see that i’m in good company :)

  • http://www.taoofunfear.com Matt, Tao of Unfear

    A lot of these tips wouldn’t help me (I know myself too well), but I think making a list of what I get done “while procrastinating” is a great idea. I often fail to recognize how much I’ve actually gotten done, and then beat myself up even though I’ve done a lot of work.

    • http://www.betamotivation.com Kola

      c’mon Matt! give em a try. don’t procrastinate on getting better at procrastinating hahaha

      • http://www.taoofunfear.com Matt, Tao of Unfear

        I see what you did there.  ;)

        But, I mean more that I A) ignore reminders, etc., that I set for myself because B) I’m bordering on burn-out because of how much I’m already getting done (but not giving myself credit for).

        If only there were more hours in the day…

  • Jas

    Best way out of procrastination is to not do it in the first place. Then you have nothing to put off.  Just cruz man.

    • Jas

      We’re obsessed with achievment and more, and more, and more all the time.

  • http://idontcarequotes.com Gracie

    Great tips since we all have the tendencies to procrastinate. :)

  • http://idontcarequotes.com Gracie

    Great tips since we all have the tendencies to procrastinate. :)

  • http://flawlessconfidence.com Martin K.

    Procrastination is very often a sign of problems with focus. People tend to procrastinate when they know that they won’t be able to concentrate on one thing for long enough to complete the task. The second reason people procrastinate is that they simply don’t want to do something. Then you have to ask yourself if you are motivated enough. Maybe you shouldn’t do it if you constantly put it off?

  • Piko

    I love this! I do most all the things you’ve listed… I think my true skill is being a pro at procrastination, so funny… if only there was a job for that.

  • Piko

    I love this! I do most all the things you’ve listed… I think my true skill is being a pro at procrastination, so funny… if only there was a job for that.

  • http://payforpaper.com/ pay for paper

    i always wait “till the weekend” to do work and end up not having a real weekend for weeks. But now i try to make a plan for a day and do a bit at a time. so far it works , but who knows how long it can last =) thanks! that is great!

  • http://www.AnnieAndre.com Annie Andre

    I find I can be the most productive after a bout of procrastination.which I think is partly due to having some down time to rest.