How Procrastination and Productivity Can Work Together

I’ll admit it--I am a procrastinator. In the past, procrastinating was detrimental to my performance as well as giving me a lot of stress and headaches. That was until I learned the difference between active and passive procrastinating.

Procrastination can be a major performance inhibitor and can really hurt your productivity if done in a passive manner. For procrastination to be helpful, it must be an active choice that helps fuel your motivation to be productive when you commit to finishing a task.

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Clean up and organize your workspace. This is a great example of a way to spend some dedicated time before you sit down to work that may save you time later. Clean up any unnecessary papers, supplies, coffee cups, etc.

Once your space is clean, organize all the things that might be essential to completing the task at hand. Once you begin, you won’t be wondering where your notes are or searching around for your pen.

Step back and spend a few minutes brainstorming. This is a great active procrastination technique that can really fuel creativity. Brainstorming can be done anywhere in the process--beginning to end--and help with visualizing your end goal and picking out problems before they become huge mistakes.

Step back whenever you are starting to feel uninspired or burnt out. Visualize what you want to see in the finished product. Go back over what you have already done. If you find any problems that can be fixed, go ahead and start smoothing out those rough edges. Once you have the whole picture in your head again, you are ready to dive back in.

Take that phone call (unless you’re on a roll). I always get that phone call right when I start wilting at my desk. Depending on who the person is, it can be a real help in reinvigorating and inspiring me to get back to work as soon as I hang up the phone.

This can be an opportunity to get some fresh perspective on your project, vent about frustrations, and receive feedback about any ideas or problems you may have. It can quickly turn into passive procrastination if the person on the other line wants to gossip or just idly chat. Be sure to steer the conversation and end it politely in order to keep on task.

Get moving! Taking a short walk, doing some yoga, or having an impromptu dance party will get your blood pumping which can improve focus, energy, and reduce stress. A short walk will also spark creativity giving you some new ideas when you are feeling stuck. Some light exercise in the morning will help prevent that afternoon slump improving productivity throughout the day.

Use this active procrastinator whenever your eyeballs start to go all fuzzy and your foot falls asleep.

Coffee break! Grab a cup of coffee or a snack when your energy starts to fall. It’s hard to concentrate when you are feeling weak and start to get hangry. A quick dose of calories can fuel productivity and be that burst of energy you need to keep going.

Avoid sugary foods that will only cause another crash later. Some examples of energy-boosting snacks are nuts, fruit, veggies and hummus, a granola bar, or a smoothie.

It’s can be a fine line to walk between active and passive procrastination so watch for the signs of each and try to catch yourself when you are slipping into a more negative form of procrastinating. As soon as procrastination makes you feel guilty or stressed out, be aware that it could be passive and participate in some active procrastination to bring you back into your work mindset.

Overall, a healthy practice of active procrastination can help you regain focus, find and fix mistakes, process new ideas, and inspire your creativity.  

How do you stay productive through the day? Any tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Laura Shaffer

Hi! I’m Laura, or “Mama Elle”. I am a wife and mother of one sharing my journey as a stay-at-home mom through my blog. Before motherhood, I developed a background in design, photography, and event planning. My mission is to help mothers become more involved in their community, simplify their life, and create a beautiful home.

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