“Productive” and “procrastination” may seem like words that don’t belong in the same time zone, much less the same sentence, but actually purposeful procrastination lets me squeeze out more productivity than I could otherwise manage with my maxed-out brain cells and schedule.
Question: when does folding the laundry seem like a lot of fun?
Answer: when you should be working on your PhD reading lists.
Question: what makes scheduling school visits and signings a blast?
Answer: doing it instead of reading another 100 pages of Proust.
Question: who likes to rinse dirty cloth diapers?
Answer: Ashley, when it means she gets a five-minute break from grading papers.
Question: how do you enjoy grading student work?
Answer: by using it as a “treat” after harder labor, like reading literary criticism.
Question: when is it a good idea to stop working and play with Liam?
Okay, I think you get the idea. So the trick here is to schedule tasks so that when you take a “break” you are really doing something productive, just productive in a different way. I also keep a running list of acceptable procrastination tasks that I can do for 15-20 minutes if I need a change of pace. At home, these include quick cleaning jobs or reading a book with Liam. I can also take a 15-minute walk (exercise is way better than a sugary snack for boosting energy levels in my mid-day slump), answer an email, or write a blog post.
It’s probably a sign of my uber-dorkiness, but this strategy makes me see folding laundry or grading essays as a treat or a break. For me, working this way keeps me from resenting all the little tasks since they “rescue” me from other brain-busting work for a bit.
How to keep the procrastination from taking over your productivity? Set a time limit for the break from your main task so that you don’t stay gone too long.