the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention:
She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment.
Everyone knows procrastination is productivity’s arch enemy. Putting off stuff clogs up your mind and your desk, it affects team goals and even individual teammates, your parents are disappointed with you, your boss gets angry, all that stuff. But what if I told you that procrastination can become an art that you can master and impress everyone around you with the results?
To be frank, it’s John Perry who said it first. A Stanford philosopher and author of The Art of Procrastination, Perry says he’s found a way to be a successful procrastinator. In fact, the very essay that he wrote on “structured procrastination” was a way to put off all the things he was supposed to do but didn’t want to do them.
Perry makes a very compelling point saying procrastinators don’t necessarily slouch when they put off their most difficult tasks. What procrastinators do is work on little things, like gardening or sharpening pencils, as a way to postpone work that they know will be much harder.
“If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it,” he writes. “However, the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.”
And it’s true. Tasks have hierarchy depending on how urgent and / or difficult they are, and procrastinators seem to require an extra boost to start working on the most pressing matters. I can personally relate to this. Give me all the time in the world to do something and I get completely distracted. When the deadline knocks on my door, not only do I do all those things in record time, but I do them with a lot of time to spare.
So why does this happen? Simple: it’s an adrenaline rush. The pressure helps me block distractions and forces me to focus on the task at hand. Each completed task feels like “achievement unlocked.” It’s a speed chase feeling, and the more tasks I zoom past, the more my adrenaline levels rise, making me even more efficient.
I highly recommend Perry’s essay to all procrastinators out there, but before you take on the lecture, share with us how your procrastination methods in the comments below. Since it’s Sunday, there’s no better day to reflect on all the stuff you didn’t get done this week 😉