There is a place for positive procrastination. I know that might sound odd coming from the editor of a web site focused on productivity, goal achievement, and optimum performance.
But to attain all those worthwhile objectives, there is a need to utilize this productive procrastination strategy. And it really is a defined, calculated strategy.
In a previous page, we gave you some time-tested methods of overcoming procrastination. In this page we'll show you how to enhance that process by using a form of positive procrastination to clear away some of the clutter in your lives.
The first step in utilizing positive procrastination might actually sound like a contradiction in terms. That step would be to just say "No." One of the biggest reasons many of us fall victim to procrastination is an overloaded schedule. Work, home, and other commitments all pull at us. Something has to go, because in most cases, we just can't do it all. So saying "No", early and often is a vital step.
This doesn't mean in any way that we should refuse to help those in need. It just means that to do something, we need to stop doing something else.
So when it comes to tasks, responsibilities, and everyday stuff, we need to decide what we are going to do first and what we might just decide to never do. Positive procrastination, when utilized effectively, is actually a freeing experience.
According to Brian Tracy, "The difference between high performers and low performers is largely determined by what they choose to procrastinate on. Since you must procrastinate anyway, decide today to procrastinate on low-value activities. Decide to procrastinate, outsource, delegate, and eliminate those activities that don't make much of a contribution to your life in any case. Get rid of the tadpoles and focus on the frogs." (Editor's note: This quote came from "Eat That Frog.")
Here is a key point. To set proper priorities, you must set posteriorities as well. A priority is something that you do more of and sooner, while a posteriority is something that you do less of and later, if at all."
For many of us, those low-value tasks are like magnets that attract us. Subconsciously, or maybe very directly, we're looking for something, anything that we can do to justify our reluctance to move forward on the really important things. We know these things will help us reach our goals. We know that by finishing off that big project our lives will be better.
But the work seems hard. So we pick something easier. We're still busy. We just aren't accomplishing the things that must be done to realize the success we think about, hope for, and dream will happen for us.
Brian Tracy writes, "Your job is to deliberately procrastinate on tasks that are of low value so that you have more time for tasks that can really make a difference in your life and work."
This is an easy page for me to write. I've been on both sides of the equation. I've been an incredible procrastinator who always seemed to find something else to do to fill my time, but still avoid the tough tasks.
Then I would beat myself up for wasting the day and not getting even one step closer to my goals. We are usually our own worst enemy. At that time in my life, there wasn't a close second. No one could belittle me the way I did to myself.
The problem with this tactic is that it clouds our minds as doubt creeps in, or perhaps rushes in, and we lose focus. Then it gets even tougher to move forward.
But I've also been on the side of positive procrastination. I can tell you the feeling is much better on this side. It took a while, but if I can do it, so can you. I know you can intentionally put off wasting any effort or energy on tasks that just aren't that important. I know you can, because it worked for me. It isn't theory. It's proven fact.
I'll close this page with a few more words from Brian Tracy as written in "Eat That Frog." He teaches us, "Review your activities outside the office, (or job), to decide which ones are not important. Cut down on television watching and spend more time with your family, reading, exercising, or doing something that enhances your life.
Look at your work activities and identify the tasks that you could delegate or eliminate to free up more time for the work that really counts. Begin today to practice creative procrastination, to set posteriorities wherever and whenever you can. This decision alone could change your life."
Positive procrastination isn't about taking the easy way out. It's all about clearing away the clutter and and allowing your mind and willing spirit to lift you to new heights.