7 Simple Ways to Turn Procrastination into Productivity

by Anne Bachrach (USA)

Productivity versus procrastination has been the ever-present angel and devil on our shoulders. The one voice in your head telling you that you should be more productive, and the other voice whispering devilishly to go ahead and watch another episode of your favourite show, that task can wait. But procrastination doesn’t always have to be a negative thing, despite its bad rap. In fact, there are ways you can use it to your advantage!

John Perry, an emeritus philosophy professor at Stanford, proposed an idea in 1995 called structured procrastination. His belief was that people who procrastinate are still doing useful things—they just need to learn how to be intentional about the little things they do to put off larger tasks. He argued that by putting structure around everything you do, important or not, you could trick your mind into getting the larger tasks done.

Let’s explore 7 simple ways you can utilize structured procrastination to turn procrastination into productivity.

  1. Put Off Morning Tasks by Time Blocking

If you aren’t a “morning person”, it can be hard to get started in the morning, especially if you start your day early. Instead of diving into a larger task right away, try doing some time blocking as your first small task. Time blocking is blocking off time on your calendar for all your tasks, even breaks! It helps you to structure your day, so you know exactly what to work on in a given time block, so you don’t need to waste your mental energy thinking of what to do next.

Your time-blocked calendar could look like:

  • 6:00 am to 6:30 am – Work out
  • 6:30 am to 7:00 am – Shower
  • 7:00 am to 7:30 am – Coffee and light breakfast
  • 7:30 am to 8:00 am – Time block calendar
  • 8:00 am to 9:00 am – Make prospecting calls
  • 9:00 am to 9:15 am – Prep for client meeting
  • 9:15 am to 10:15 am – Client meeting
  • 10:15 am to 10:30 am – Finish any actions from client meeting
  • 10:30 am to 11:00 am – Respond to emails
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Make prospecting calls
  • 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm – Eat Lunch

Having a laundry list of to-dos can be overwhelming, so setting aside a specific time for each activity takes away the burden of deciding when to do that task and makes you more intentional with how you utilize your valuable time.

  1. Break a Larger Project Down into Smaller Tasks

As you are blocking time on your calendar, you can break larger projects down into smaller tasks, which makes them much easier to do and you feel like you are making good progress on your list of activities that need to be done. Let’s say you are launching a new website and need to put the final touches on it before you can launch today. The larger project is ‘launch a new website,’ and smaller tasks could be giving the copy a final overview, making sure all images have alt tags for accessibility, double-checking that the DNS is set up for launch, reviewing the marketing email that is going out to clients and prospects, etc.

With each small task you accomplish, you get closer to completing the larger project!

Source: iCN Issue 39  (Career Coaching); pages 18-20

About Anne Bachrach

Anne Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™.  She has over 25 years of experience training and coaching.  Business owners and entrepreneurs who utilize Anne’s proven systems and processes work less, make more money, and have a more balanced and successful life. Anne is the author of the books, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives, No Excuses!, and The Work Life Balance Emergency Kit. Go to https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/Landing/ and get 3 FREE gifts including a special report on 10 Power Tips for Getting Focused, Organized, and Achieving Your Goals Now. Join the FREE Silver Inner Circle Membership today and receive 10% off on all products and services, in addition to having access to assessments and high-content resources to help you achieve your goals so you can experience a more balanced and successful life (https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/coaching-store/inner-circle-store/).