Procrastination is an art.
Oh, sure, you can just put things off willy nilly, that’s one way to get it done. But to do it and do it well — that takes some skill. It’s a fine art. Okay, “fine art” might be pushing it. But at the very least it’s art of some kind.
What I mean is, sometimes you might sit down and draw stick figures instead of cleaning the kitchen. See what I mean? Art. And sometimes you might find a way to put that off even longer by sharing the art with your Facebook page.
That level of procrastination takes years of practice, let me tell you. You want that kind of skill don’t you? Of course you do. So let me give you some tips I’ve learned over the years.
The Art of Procrastination
TIP ONE: START WITH THE BIGGEST MESS.
You can procrastinate on anything really, but the easiest thing to start with is the biggest one glaring you in the face. It’s sitting right there; it obviously needs to be done. If you procrastinated on some small thing nobody would even notice. Go big. Ignore that big thing staring you down like nobody’s business. Sure, it’s overwhelming and stressful, act like you don’t even care. You got this.
What you don’t want to do: You don’t want to break the big mess into little chunks. That’s what tidy, efficient people do. They would start with the biggest piece of the project they could knock out quickly to immediately cut the size of the task. They would probably even use TIMERS and work in short bursts and set GOALS. Oh, help. That’s just a recipe for disaster right there. Avoid that at all costs.
TIP TWO: STAY BUSY. VERY BUSY.
With too much time on your hands, you’re going to be clearing those tasks off your list before know it. Real procrastinators will stay busy taking care of many other things to avoid completing more important tasks. The trick is to avoid prioritizing and to look for as many little side projects as possible. An optional approach is to avoid being busy at all. In fact, take a big fat nap, often. By being very lazy instead, you actually procrastinate on all tasks at once. Bonus points!
Remember: Non-procrastinators will be careful to be neither too lazy, nor too busy. They will prioritize and make time for important tasks. They would probably start with the most important thing first and work their way down. They might even use organizers and cleaning systems! You don’t want to fall into this trap! These things are hindrances to honing your procrastination skills.
TIP THREE: FIND SOMETHING YOU DON’T WANT TO DO.
This is an easy one, because you already don’t want to do it anyway! In fact, you loathe it. That makes it very, very easy to avoid that task entirely. It’s almost too easy to pretend it isn’t there, act like it doesn’t exist, and find something else to do instead. The tricky part is acting like you do, in fact, want to accomplish the task, attempting to motivate yourself into doing it, and then deciding not to do it after all. Once you’ve learned how to do that, you’re a real pro!
What not to do: Don’t spend too much time thinking about valid reasons for finishing this task, you might accidentally talk yourself into it. Also, don’t be tempted to break this up into chunks, set small goals, or ask for accountability. Absolutely avoid accountability. Motivated people would practice good work ethic, seek help, set goals, and reward themselves for a job well done. This is not good procrastination technique.
FINALLY . . .
Remember procrastination begins in the heart. There is always a root cause for it, whether it be that you are overwhelmed by the task, unmotivated and lazy, exhausted and disinterested, over-scheduled, or you just don’t want to do it. Whatever the case, a good case of procrastination has a good root. Weeding out that root would be bad, let that root grow.
HOWEVER . . .
If, in fact, you do not wish to become a better procrastinator, but would rather prefer to overcome your procrastinative ways . . then perhaps you might wish to read this advice in reverse. For those who wish to become LESS successful at procrastinating, you would need to choose to listen to the “do not” advice and not do the “do this” advice. And for the rest of us, well, there’s always tomorrow.
Image Source: Young Woman Bored, by Petr Kratochvil
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