Contrary to popular belief, not all procrastination is bad. You might associate procrastination with a lack of productivity and confidence, but you can’t do everything at once! You can procrastinate strategically to enhance your ability to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. After you have mastered a skill, using procrastination can help you become more efficient.
For example, if you want to complete a project by EOD, you could spend 8 hours starting and finishing it or completing it in less time. Putting the deadline at the end of the day could decrease your productivity. If you have experience in the project, then you can accomplish the task more efficiently. The right kind of procrastination can give you a boost of energy. Knowing your deadline is looming helps you work faster and get into a flow state. Short bursts of procrastination could be energy boosters to help you find the motivation to get things done. However, long durations of procrastination will stress you out and create more discomfort than necessary. Although it can be risky, mindful procrastination can make you a more efficient and focused professional.
Here are five ways to mindfully procrastinate and take back your time:
- Quit negative self-talk
Procrastination doesn’t have to be wrong, but if you get into a habit of thinking it is and supporting it with negative self-talk, it will be. Negative self-talk is detrimental to your overall well-being as well as your nervous system. Instead, remind yourself that you are only human and that a few breaks here and there can restore motivation. It takes confidence to take back your time and take action on your timeline. Your calendar is your chance to be proactive (and not reactive).
- Procrastinate with awareness
You can only procrastinate if you are intimately involved with the project in a larger sense. Be aware of all the moving parts to do this effectively. If you have a strong understanding of the requirements of the project, then you can be strategic with your timeline. Set a timer and head out for a walk to clear your head or practice yoga to ground yourself. The fresh air from a walk will inspire creative thought, and some quality breathing from yoga will stimulate a clear perspective.
- Start when you’re ready
Knowing when you are ready and feeling inspired is half the battle. After that, you will be able to work efficiently, mindfully, and with focus. Starting at the best time for you will ultimately boost your energy and will leave you feeling accomplished. There is no need to force something that isn’t coming naturally. You are better off starting the task at a time that is most convenient for you.
- Efficient time management
Set the start line to be just enough time to complete the task. Working longer on something isn’t necessarily the answer. However, if you can properly manage and utilize your time, a little bit of pressure can go a long way. Managing your time according to deadlines makes you more efficient.
- Communicate the deadline with your team
If you are changing a startline or deadline, be sure to be a cooperative teammate and tell others! Your teammates will appreciate the heads-up, especially if they are involved with the project. Working well with others requires open communication and respect.
Warning! Here are 3 potential downsides:
It’s no surprise that waiting until the last minute could cause some stress, especially if you are up against a deadline. Don’t wait too long to begin the project! You want to start strategically, not too early, and not too late. If you can learn how to manage your stress, these situations are less likely to feel overwhelming. Yoga and meditation are two foundational ways to ease your relationship with stress and better control it.
- Quality could suffer
If you don’t do well under pressure, you might see the quality of your work suffering. This is because often, there is not enough time left to review, revise and improve your work. If you are pressed against a deadline, you might only get one shot at what you are doing. Only mindfully procrastinate on work that you are highly skilled and experienced doing. Procrastinating is not for novices!
- No cushion or wiggle room
Even mindfully procrastinating can eliminate a much-needed buffer on projects. Working with your back against a wall puts you under excessive pressure and causes a great deal of anxiety. This is not an optimal condition to produce your best work.
The bottom line
Although it can be risky, mindful procrastination can make you a more efficient and focused professional. There is a difference between avoidance and mindfully procrastinating. Avoiding a project comes from a place of fear, lack of inadequacy, and stalling. Mindfully procrastinating looks a little different. It comes from getting to know yourself on a deeper level and making peace with your tendencies. If you could befriend this part of yourself, you are more likely to use it as fuel. Little spouts of procrastination here and there could positively impact your ability to accomplish more and do better. If you could think of mindful procrastination as a place to recharge your energy, you could have better success in execution.
Tell us about a time in the comments below that you mindfully procrastinated, and it made you complete your work in a shorter than expected time!