Somedays, I can't seem to get out of the gate, much less get to the finish line. Procrastination gets the best of me.
Recently, I had a presentation to produce and I spent a half hour procrastinating — organizing my email inbox, cleaning off my desk and staring at my computer screen while wishing the PowerPoint would just write itself. I wasted a bunch of time, during which the presentation was weighing on my mind, and I wasn’t any better for it.
But I don’t think procrastination is all bad. Or rather, I think it’s impossible to avoid procrastination completely. Sometimes you have a task to get done that you either completely loathe or are intimidated to begin with. There are mornings when I come to work and feel so overwhelmed with what’s on my plate that I need some kind of a warm-up to get into the working mode. So, my new approach is if I’m going to procrastinate, I’m going to try and be productive about it.
Here are my three favorite ways:
• Read an article online, but just one, and hopefully it is somewhat related to the task I’m procrastinating about. I work in the tech field, so I usually go to TED.com for inspiration. It has just the right amount of entertainment-to-geek ratio for me to find something interesting and relevant to my task.
Okay, so here’s the deal with this tip: Don’t click on any of the links in or around the article. The rule is just one article, then back to the task at hand.
• Take a walk outside (or inside) for a few minutes. This might be my favorite procrastination method and de-stresser ever. There is something about being outside in fresh air, away from your desk, kitchen, study or office to get a jump start. Sometimes, I’ll walk down the block and grab a coffee. Sometimes, I don't even leave the building and I'll simply walk around on another floor or department at my company and network with individuals. In either case, it does wonders to help me clear my mind and focus. Remember, only limit this to a few minutes. After all, you do have work to do.
• And speaking of to-dos, another thing I do to get motivated is visit my to-do list. Sometimes I’ll rewrite it. Other times, I’ll cross things off or add a few. Spending a few minutes with my to-do list helps me feel productive and organized, which is a great mindset to get stuff done.
Time-suck alert: Checking out Twitter or Facebook is not on my productive procrastination list. I know, I know, it's hard to resist and I’m the first to admit that I get sucked into the mindless checking of social media too often. But if you’re going to procrastinate productively, stay away.
So, what are some great ways in which you procrastinate or attempt to snap out of the procrastination funk? Post a comment below with your thoughts on the subject.