The definition of procrastination is “putting off what you don’t want to do.” The Latin version describes it as “in favor of tomorrow.” Another search brought up “to delay something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring.” The official Procrastination Equation’s definition is “an exclusively negative phenomenon.” None of this sounds appealing or positive, and because we associate putting things off as a weakness in self-discipline, is it crazy to think we can turn our intentional laziness into a positive, smart work tactic? Can you really get more done when you put off doing some of the important things in your day? You can when you think of your time in a different mindset.
- Brain dump. By getting things out of your head and down on paper, you can then assign a time for how long each item will take you to complete. Now, don’t take that literally. Just estimate on whether something will take all day, a couple of hours, or five minutes. Make sure you don’t confuse the time involved with the importance of getting something accomplished. A quick call to make a doctor’s appointment can be more important than cleaning out the garage. Time doesn’t equal importance; it’s all important.
- Small stuff. Our days are jam-packed with things to do and we feel overwhelmed. The outdated “to-do” list has been revamped to rank your priorities; yet, even things that aren’t a priority still need to be done. Call this the “small stuff.” When you keep moving the things up on your priority list, the small things get pushed further down and can soon be forgotten. The thank-you note to Grandma for your birthday present falls off your list altogether when your job requires a new proposal by the end of the day and your child has a book report due.
- Powerful pockets of time. Oftentimes we find ourselves with weird windows of time and we don’t know what to do with it. Sitting in carpool line or waiting for a meeting to begin can be time wasters for some people. While many will use this time to scroll through social media, others will see this as the time set aside for the “small stuff” like writing Grandma’s thank-you note. Instead of doing six things that take five minutes each, thus using up a 30-minute block of time, become aware of when you can do the “small stuff” and save that 30 minutes for something that needs 30 minutes of focused attention. The key is to recognize these windows in our day and pick things to do that matches the “time” that we just found.
When you know what your “small stuff” is, you’ll be much more productive because you’ll know when and where to squeeze them in when you find a few extra minutes in your day. So figure out your “small stuff.” If someone is on the outside looking in, they may think that scrolling through the hundreds of pictures on your phone and deleting the blurry ones while waiting to board a plane is wasteful time management, but you know it’s pretty genius of you and your productive mindset. There’s a fine line between procrastinating the little things and doing them because it’s the most productive thing you can do effectively! It’s that simple.