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Productive Procrastination: How to Get Things Done by Putting Off Other Things

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https://zapier.com/blog/productive-procrastination/

zapier.com

Productive Procrastination: How to Get Things Done by Putting Off Other Things
Not to brag, but I'm pretty good at procrastination. I put off writing this article for three whole weeks after pitching it, even though I told my manager and all my co-workers it would be done in a couple of days (and then proceeded to claim it would be done...

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Plan the Rest of Your Day

When you don't feel like working on your tasks, take a few moments to plan your day.

Even if you do it as a form of procrastination, to postpone doing the actual work, it will help you...

1297 SAVES


Smaller Manageable Parts

Break the project you don't want to start into smaller pieces.

Breaking it down into small tasks and adding those to your to-do list isn't exactly fun, but it is less overwhelming than...

923 SAVES


Clean Something

Clean something every time you don't want to get started on a work project. Don't listen to a podcast or turn on the radio. Just clean. Make it as boring as possible, so that your mind wanders.

1168 SAVES


Tackle the Simplest Tasks

Every job involves at least a few simple tasks that don't require your full attention, and these make for great productive procrastination.

The best tasks for this have a few things in common...

836 SAVES


Take a Walk or Exercise

Any kind of exercise works. 

Use the time that you're stuck to get up and do something physical for a bit. It's good for you, and research shows that regular physical activity can also h...

802 SAVES


Talk to Your Co-Workers

Reach out to your co-workers when you're stuck.

Catch up with your co-workers. See what they're working on. You'll learn something, feel better connected with the people around you, an...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Procrastination has a price. It's related to:

  • Depression
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Stress

Willpower Doesn’t Work. Systems Do.

People shy away from routines, systems and frameworks because they want to have “freedom.” But in order to get things done, you need rules.

To get things done, research found effective:

  • Self-imposed deadlines.
  • Accountability systems (commitment with friends, or a coach).
  • Working/studying in intervals.
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day.
  • A healthy diet.
  • Eliminating distractions.
  • And most importantly: Internal motivation.

Think About It

Acting without first reflecting can make things worse. Regularly reviewing how you spend your time will give you insight into how you got to your present state, how to move forward strategically...

Manage Your Inbox

Knowing your inbox isn’t overflowing can save you a lot of mental stress, which helps you focus on more important tasks. You can reduce your message by:

  • Unsubscribe from promotional and notification emails.
  • Use filters to sort nonessential email into specified sections of your inbox, so they don’t show up every time you log in.
  • Use programs to schedule emails and send reminders, so you can deal with emails on your own time. 

Have a “Mental Junk Drawer”

Dump your ideas, notes, lists, and saved articles that don’t have another home into a digital document. This clears some mental space—without adding papers and notebooks to your actual junk drawer.

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Procrastination as a coping mechanism

People tend to procrastinate to avoid emotionally unpleasant tasks - so they choose to focus on something that provides a temporary mood boost.

This creates a vicious cycl...

The science behind getting started

Progress on our goals feeds our well-being. So the most important thing to do is bootstrap a little progress: get a little progress, and that’s going to fuel your well-being and your motivation.

Implementation intentions for better focus

This is a self-regulatory strategy in the form of an "if-then plan": "If the phone rings, then I’m not going to answer it." "If my friends call me to say we’re going out, I’m going to say no." So you’ve already made these pre-commitments.