The Art of Productive Procrastination

Procrastination. We have all been there, and it’s totally okay. Sometimes it’s just unavoidable, but procrastination doesn’t have to mean sitting around and binge-watching The Office for the eleventh time, or spending an entire night watching random videos on YouTube. When done right, procrastination can help you accomplish things you don’t usually have time to do. Procrastination, as strange as it may sound, can actually be very productive.

Productive procrastination is the art of doing stuff to keep busy while avoiding what really needs to get done. With productive procrastination, your room is clean, your laundry is folded, you know everything the internet has to offer about koala bears, even though you haven’t started your English paper that is due at midnight. Productive procrastination is far from being lazy, in fact, it helps you complete other tasks on your to-do list that would usually seem very tedious. The simple act of avoiding one task rearranges the way your brain considers the entire list, and helps you do something else that is also important.

This form of procrastination allows you to feel less guilty during your relaxation and it allows you to think about what you really want to say in that 8-page paper. For me, I have an extremely hard time coming up with ideas, while I am staring at a blank document. I get my best ideas when I am doing something totally unrelated to my homework, like grocery shopping or writing an email. Giving yourself the opportunity to generate ideas sometimes means putting the main tasks off for a bit, and doing menial tasks that require no brain power.

With productive procrastination, you get a lot done, you build ideas, momentum, and confidence, and you feel less guilty overall.

Nobody should need instructions on how to procrastinate, but doing it productively might take some practice and tips. The first step is to prioritize. Everyone has those couple of tasks that loom over them the entire week, and it’s important to acknowledge which things take more time to complete than others. You should break these big goals into smaller tasks. You can make the most of your procrastination time by doing all of the little things on your list while you relax. Watching a Facebook video about men getting hair extensions? Pull up an extra tab and respond to that email you keep forgetting to get back to.

Here is a list of things that you can do while simultaneously relaxing, watching your favorite Netflix show, or scrolling through your twitter feed:

1. Write a personal email or letter to someone: This will get your creative juices flowing and the recipient will absolutely love it.

2. Start a collection of links that you can use to procrastinate more effectively later on: I suggest StumbleUpon.com, Reddit.com, or HerCampus.com.

3. Choose a subject you just “don’t get” and start doing research: maybe you want to learn about crystal healing, or why owls have two stomachs.

4. Clean your bedroom: we all fall subject to messy rooms during our busy college lives.

5. Go grocery shopping: get some brain food to help end your procrastination streak

6. Listen to a cool podcast: this will make you look at things in different ways

We all fall victim to procrastination all the time, but with these methods, you can check things off your to-do list, relax guilt-free, and generate some ideas for homework. Productive procrastination really is the way to go.

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