Procrastination. The word has such negative connotations, doesn’t it?

For years I struggled with procrastination believing it was a bad thing that made me less effective and efficient in my work. In the end, I think it was worrying about procrastinating that was more damaging than the actual procrastination.

But, one day I discovered the idea of percolation as a function of procrastination and it clicked with me. I really wasn’t avoiding doing what I was meant to be doing, I was percolating the ideas and methods of getting that work done.

Procrastination can, in fact, be a powerful source of inspiration.Click To Tweet

Focused Procrastination

Focused procrastination is what you do when you’re trying to avoid a task. And let’s be realistic, sometimes the last thing you want to do is the thing you have to do. If that’s your mindset, then make the most of it by funnelling the energy of that avoidance into other tasks.

The caveat here is impending deadlines. If you’re at risk of missing your deadline, suck it up and get it done.

If there’s no deadline breathing down your neck, try clearing some of these tasks from your to-do list:

  • Get Organised – I get my best cleaning and organising done when I’m procrastinating. If it wasn’t for making the most of this need to avoid the important work, my desk and work space would rarely get a tidy up.
  • Network – Use this time to touch base with people in your network. Staying in touch can pay real dividends over time so, reply to those non-essential emails and put your procrastination to good use.
  • Plan Ahead – Never have time for forward planning. Do it now. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to focus on the future when you’re trying to avoid the present.
  • Research – Often it’s easier to get stuck into researching a project (or product) when you’re in the midst of a procrastination phase.
  • Get Up To Date – Drag out those reports, meeting minutes and other documentation you need to read.
  • Errands – Need to book the car in for a service next month, make the booking now. Same goes for any other appointments you need to schedule. Pretty much anything that you didn’t deem important enough to devote time to, can add to your productive procrastination.
  • The Little Things –Even a five minute task or two can take your wasted time into productive time.

Related Post: 7 TED Talks That Will Make You More Productive

Freestyle Procrastination

And sometimes you need to go do something that’s not, at first glance, productive.

This is the kind of procrastination that works best when you feel like you’re in a fog or can’t think. Take some time to yourself and, if possible, change your surroundings.

The real benefit of this kind of procrastination is it’s effectiveness at recharging your energy, giving your unconscious mind a chance to tackle any problems and, ultimately, regaining your focus.

This is the kind of procrastination that will allow ideas and potential solutions to percolate, providing you with insight you might not necessary find it you sit at your desk and attempt to steamroll the issue at hand.

  • Take a Walk – It doesn’t have to be a long one. You don’t need to power walk either. Just a stroll around the block can have immense positive impact.
  • Meditate – If you’re feeling the need to procrastinate, it could be that you’re also feeling a bit stressed so, take some time to sit and relax and, meditate if you can. You’ll be better able to get back on task if you do.
  • Read a Good Book – Use a good dose of fiction to remove you from the reality you’re trying to avoid by procrastinating. You’ll probably find ideas and solutions present themselves while you’re reading. Set yourself a time limit so you don’t get too carried away with that good book.
  • Go to Lunch – If all else fails, go to lunch. Or the gym: amp up your energy by getting your heart rate up and your blood pumping.

Making Procrastination Productive

See? There’s no need to beat yourself up for procrastinating.

The next time you feel yourself sliding into procrastination-mode, acknowledge it and give yourself permission to indulge in either some focused or some freestyle procrastination and put the time to good use.

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Your Turn…

What do you do when you find yourself sliding into procrastination-mode? Share your solutions in the comments.

The next time you feel yourself sliding into procrastination-mode, acknowledge it and give yourself permission to indulge in either some focused or some freestyle procrastination and put the time to good use.

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