The following is a guest post from Mandi Ehman, founder of Life Your Way and Jungle Deals & Steals.
On weeks when my schedule and to-do list are overflowing, I always seem to get more done.
Does that sound familiar?
For a long time, I thought it was because of the adrenaline during those packed weeks.
What I’ve realized, though, is that while that may be true sometimes, I think I’m more effective when I have more to do for one simple reason. I like to call it “productive procrastination.”
When my to-do list is small and I want to procrastinate, I end up zoning on Facebook, blog hopping or, if I can pull myself out of the internet fog, reading a book.
But when my to-do list is overflowing and I don’t feel like working on project A or folding laundry, I still have a long list of activities to choose from (some of which I am probably excited about).
By choosing those activities – even if it’s not the most critical thing on my list — I’m able to make forward progress.
What this looks like in my life.
For example, I was feeling kind of lazy about an hour before I started writing this post. I should probably be working on a post for my blog, but I’m not really feeling inspired or motivated to do that.
I started to sink into the rabbit hole that is the internet before I reminded myself that this is a crazy busy week and took another look at my to-do list.
One of the items on there? Testing a ricotta cheesecake recipe for my sister’s graduation party this weekend.
That certainly sounds like a lot more fun than writing a post.
I got the ricotta cheesecake ready and in the oven, and then I moved right onto another fun project, which also happens to be on my to-do list…making a photo mobile for said party.
I’m about halfway through cutting those pictures, and it’s getting pretty tedious, so I took a break to, well, write this post.
When I finish the draft, I’ll go back to cutting the pictures, and when that’s done, I’ll sit down and write the original post that sent me running to the kitchen.
At the end of today, I will have made pretty significant progress on my to-do list, even if it wasn’t in the perfect order, so I will feel like it was a productive day. And I’ll do it without white knuckling my way through.
Ways to productively procrastinate.
How else does this play out in our day-to-day lives? No matter what your daily responsibilities look like, here are some more examples of ways to use productive procrastination to your advantage:
Note: Not all of these are fun activities. Some of them simply get you moving or allow you to check something easy off your to-do list!
- Call a friend
- Do a brain dump
- Read to the kids
- Fold laundry
- Work on a scrapbook
- Write a blog post
- File paperwork
- Go for a walk
- Start dinner prep
Of course, there are still times when we have to suck it up and get something done on your to-do list now and not later. And there’s definitely value in eating the frog first thing in the morning.
Understanding your personality and motivation is an important part of developing discipline and becoming more productive, so look for ways to use productive procrastination, not just as a way to avoid some dreaded task, but as a way to get more done!
Have you ever used procrastination for your benefit? What else would you add to the list of ways to productively procrastinate?