Procrastination has bad PR.
It is the public enemy of time management.
Still, as with every tool, there are two sides of the coin.
For example, everyone will say that prioritization is good. It helps you focus on what is most important. But it pairs with procrastination, when you put off tasks of less importance.
In the same sense, there is bad procrastination, when you put off important tasks, wasting your time on trivia, but there is also good, creative procrastination that actually helps you save your time.
And here is how it works.
Let’s say I have a task to do. Let’s say it is a report to write. And let’s say I have one week to do it.
I can take one of two paths.
One is the ‘start ASAP (As Soon As Possible)’ path.
I get down to work immediately. I spend my time working on the report. I spend my time working on it every day. I plan it deliberately knowing how important this task is. Writing this report will take me say 14 hours (two hours each day).
Actually, I spent so much of my time on it, because I had this time.
In retrospect, you can imagine that my level of productivity in the beginning of the process was relatively low. Why? Because I had too much time ahead of me. I seemed to have the deadline pressure, but I did not have the instant time pressure.
Two is the ‘start ALAP (As Late As Practical)’ path.
That is when creative procrastination helps. And the process goes like this:
- I make it clear what must be done (What is the report? What is expected of it? What “quality” level is expected? etc.)
- I estimate how much time I will need to deliver the required quality of the report. I base it on my experience with similar tasks in the past. Let’s say it is 5 hours of effective work.
- I estimate what is the extra time I may need if it takes longer than expected. I base it on my experience with similar tasks in the past. Let’s say it is another 2 hours.
- I make sure I block those 7 hours to have this time to work. But I do not start today. I will schedule it two or three days before the deadline. This way, I will create the healthy instant time pressure that will squeeze and peak my productivity.
- I make sure I focus on delivering the report in this given time to avoid the unhealthy deadline pressure.
The above task and timing are only examples and they are supposed to illustrate the idea.
Sometimes, in order to do something, we spend more time than necessary just because we have this time (even when we claim we don’t).
Can you picture yourself staring at a blank page for too long, jumping to social media or bringing another cup of coffee ONLY BECAUSE you say to yourself that you still have x minutes or hours to go?
By nature, when you spend too much time on one task, you don’t spend enough on another.
Procrastinate creatively and intelligently. Plan the minimum quality time required for a task and postpone its execution to the latest quality start time project task tracking software.
This way you can deliver the expected results, save much time and use it for other tasks.
Procrastinate well 🙂
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