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  • Writer's pictureFiona Grignard

How procrastination can actually help you to do stuff.

Do you know the difference between procrastination and busy procrastination? Probably not, cause I just made it up.

Procrastination: the action of delaying or postponing something.

Busy Procrastination; the action to postpone a an important task to do something else, that's not a priority.

The idea is similar : you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. But the intention is completely different. And the result too, can be.

For example; I'm pure procrastinating when instead of working on my exam, I end up taking a nap or watching a movie.

These activities aren't helping my end goal and I can feel I'm not moving forward with my task. It's the kind of procrastination that constantly whispers in your hear "you're not doing anything, you are wasting your time."

On the other hand, busy procrastination is sneakier. It can trick you into believing you're actually working and hence, that you're good. For example, you are cleaning your apartment, processing administrative paperwork you have been putting off for months, doing grocery shopping that you have to do anyway.

Technically, yes you are doing something. At times you are even doing many things, you're active, you're not just watching Netflix or scrolling on your phone. The problem is that you are not really doing the stuff that is important right now. But since you are completing tasks, your brain gets fooled.

Let's be honest, both procrastination and busy procrastination are not highly desirable per se.

However, I found that busy procrastination done well can actually do wonders on a more general level. Let me explain.

Have you ever been in that kind of state where you're just not inspired, can't be bothered to work, have zero motivation but you also don't feel like just doing nothing?

Well this happened to me the other day. My To-Do list was getting as long as a phone book (this joke just killed the last bit of young hype kid inside of me!). Energy wasn't what was lacking though, I wanted to do stuff, I just really couldn't get my head around the important stuff.

I went through my general To-Do list instead of my day list. And weirdly, some of the stuff that never made the top of my priorities all of a sudden started to become very appealing to me: buying new glasses, write a couple of blog posts, book a podiatrist appointment for new orthopedic insoles, tidy the drawers under my bed...

Here I was, instead of doing the real important and urgent work I needed to do, I started doing a whole bunch of other stuff instead.

I knew very well these things weren't a priority for me at the moment, but I just simply couldn't reason myself to work on a salary proposition for my client, finish writing my book, write my invoices and send my health insurance papers.

Instead of crossing things off my To-Do list, I started writing what I had done during the day, one thing led to the other, I just kept being busy, adding more things on my list.

I called it my "Ta-Daaaaa" list. Because Ta-daaaa I had done all that. (Who else sees Joey from Friends at the end of his "ballet choreography"?)

At the end of this supposedly very lazy day, I had done 8 things that I had just kept postponing and postponing until then. Things that weren't the most urgent, and that maybe weren't the most VIP either, but I was so satisfied with myself still.

Even better, because I became so satisfied with myself for finally booking my podiatrist appointment and knowing my new glasses were on the way, my mood slowly started improving.

As success always builds on success, it motivated me to do some more. Until, at some point, I had gained enough momentum to call that important potential client and book an appointment (the actual #1 task on my To-Do list of the day!).

My advice to you:

When you're motivated and your energy levels are high up the Himalayas, make sure to focus on what is important, what will make a difference.

But you're only human, and you will have days when you just have zero motivation for those things.

So once in a while (that's the key, this cannot happen every single day of course!), when that happens and your priorities don't look too appealing, browse through your more general To-Do list, and see what suddenly becomes more interesting.

You weirdly feel like cleaning the fridge instead of studying for your exam and you will still have enough time for that later? Just go clean your fridge, without guilt. Put away your winter clothes, descale the kettle, look for a speed-reading course, back-up your computer. Whatever you're always too busy to do.

Write everything you do, one thing at a time.

Call it "your Ta-daaaa" list.

Be proud of yourself.

And when you've gained enough momentum, go back to your To-Do list of the day, and challenge yourself to do only one thing, even if the easiest one on there.

Not everyday has to be super productive. Just enjoy not being perfect, but being human, and do your best after all while taking into consideration your energy, your mood, your desire that day.

And remember, luck is an attitude...


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