People often ask me how I have so much time to blog, or can justify the time I spend doing so.
The truth is, I’m a procrastinator. Right now I have a newsletter to send out and a booking form to build. But there is no deadline pressure. Not for another hour or so. So I need to fill the time with meaninglessness in order to create that pressure. Sure, I have a to do list filled with other meaningless tasks and I could create the deadline pressure by creating a faux deadline. But then I’d finish earlier and have nothing to do.
How to procrastinate while feeling productive
- Read some articles about how to do what you’re doing better – Consider this professional development and research. At the same time. Also click through to any other links you find that seem interesting.
- Tidy your desk – This one is also on Steve’s list – but I use it to avoid doing the jobs I am avoiding doing. And who knows what you might discover going through your physical inbox and your files. Maybe there’ll be another task that you can procrastinate on.
- Write a really long list of things to do to achieve your goal, and then your next four or five goals – Lists just feel so productive. And they make your tasks much more concrete. This helps you to avoid doing them.
- Learn how to write your goals in other languages – Constant learning is the best way to avoid constant doing.
- Visit Facebook, Twitter and MySpace – Ask your friends how to achieve your goals better. Their advice could save you valuable minutes in the long term.
- Participate in community - While you’re on Facebook check out your friend’s photos and comment on their walls. It is all about community.
- Have a quick game of Tetris – It really gets the creative juices flowing.
- Blog – Write a post about “how to” solve your issue quoting your friends and the articles you read.
- Comment elsewhere – Encourage other people to write more stuff that helps you. This is like a self fulfilling prophecy of procrastination. The more stuff there is to read through in order to find what you’re after the less time you need to spend doing stuff. Increase the noise to signal ratio. That way when you find something relevant it’s a real triumph.
- Engage with differing ideas – Find something online you disagree with and get in an argument.
- Get amongst real people – Walk around the office and play a prank on somebody.
- Spend 80% of your time developing efficiencies – This is my own personal 80/20 rule. Everybody loves an 80/20 rule. It justifies spending less time doing stuff. The more time you spend thinking about how you do work the less time you actually have to spend doing it.
- Make sure the job still needs doing – Procrastination is a filter to avoid doing unnecessary tasks. Not doing unnecessary tasks is much more efficient than doing them and finding out they weren’t needed. If nobody has noticed that you haven’t done the thing you were asked to do, it probably didn’t need doing.
- Make sure the deadline still stands - Perhaps the job wasn’t as important as it first seemed. If that’s the case put it down the list and start procrastinating about something else.
- Delegate – Ask someone else (preferably a known procrastinator) to produce an integral part of your work. Then their lack of progress is a perfect excuse for your lack of progress.
Enjoy. This should provide eight or nine spare hours in the work day.
Bonus tip: Subscribe to hundreds of blogs (including mine (subscription link)) in Google Reader. And make sure you have no unread posts before you start the day.