Recently a friend of mine asked me on two separate occasions if I procrastinated. At first I stuttered because I like to think of myself as someone that doesn’t procrastinate. Time is precious and valuable to me so I’m always looking for the most efficient way to do something. A long time ago I discovered that by procrastinating I spend more time trying not to think about something than the time it would take me to actually do it. And of course there are dreaded tasks that I procrastinate on, conveniently forget about, or continually rank as a low, low priority. I was even delaying writing this blog post which is normally something I enjoy doing each week. It must be the subject matter….
I do have one task I habitually procrastinate on, much to my detriment, but normally I’m quite diligent about getting things done right away. However, my friend’s question caused me to think about it for a moment. As a consultant, I’m constantly reprioritizing my tasks based on urgency and deadlines. On occasion I may procrastinate by lounging around watching TV, but more often I’m getting something done in place of something else. If I push a task of lesser importance to the bottom of the list in favor of doing something more immediate, is that procrastinating?
I’ve also found the erratic schedule and shifting priorities is a strong motivator for me to stay on top of my tasks allowing me flexibility when something unexpected happens. Something always pops up at a random time that is both urgent and time consuming. This means for certain tasks I have developed a habit of doing them immediately to get them off my list and out of my mind. Recently, my brother sent me an article about this exact habit, which is called “pre-crastination,” rushing to get things done for the sake of completing them. Consequently some things, like email responses, may be sent off hastily without thinking it through.
I’m not sure there’s a perfect solution, but I allow myself to do whatever I want as long as it’s productive. I have a mental list of “productive” activities that evolves constantly. On occasion, I have even been able to justify watching TV, napping, or teaching myself how to make kettle corn as productive activities. Most of all, I strive for efficiency and balance.