Productive Procrastination

Student Studying

By Brianna Pearson ’20, higher education administration, wellness coach

Procrastination is a way we take care of ourselves. We often do it to avoid stress or anxiety. We all procrastinate from time to time. 

Whether you aren’t doing what needs to be done or you are putting off something important because you lack the motivation, sometimes, it’s just unavoidable. You can find yourself doing anything to avoid the one thing you know you should be doing. 

But, procrastination doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. In fact, there is a type of procrastination that encourages you to be efficient. Yep, that’s right. It’s called productive procrastination.

Essentially, this is procrastinating the “rightway. It allows you to put off a specific task that takes a lot of effort while keeping you busy enough so that your time is used wisely.

For example, maybe you’ve been putting off a paper that you can’t seem to get started, but the pile of laundry you haven’t folded is staring you in the face. If you choose to fold your laundry while putting off that paper, that’s productive procrastination. 

Here is a list of five other things you may choose to do while you put off other tasks:

  1. Get Physical – go for a walk, do yoga, stretch, etc. 
  2. Make a procrastination list – write down a list of everything you need to do and cross tasks off as they get done. 
  3. Play catch-up –  Use this time to declutter your inbox and answer high priority emails.  You may also use this time to enjoy your favorite blog posts or vlog series.  
  4. Hit the rest of your to-dos – It may be a good idea to get some of those other tasks done if you’re not going to go after the big ones.
  5. Clean your workspace – Or your entire space in general. Visual clutter can be distracting. Plus, if you’re putting one thing off, you’ll do just about anything to avoid it. Make sure that anything helps your future self out.
  6. Set a timer – You may choose to set a timer and allow yourself 20 minutes to work on the task you need to do, then for the next few minutes do something that’s not as important.

Maybe reading this article was enough productive procrastination for you and now you’re ready to check off your most important tasks. But if not, we hope that it at least gave you the inspiration you need to use your procrastination time wisely.