Working Bitches | Procrastination Techniques

professional procrastinatorI regularly refer to myself as the reigning queen of awkward because, well, I am (hello awkward oversharing and averting my eyes from casual acquaintances in public because I’m sure they don’t recognize me and I don’t want to be caught in a weird half wave). But there’s another place that I rule pretty solidly: the Province of Procrastination (was that awkward enough for you?!). This region is one of my absolute specialties. I consider myself a top level expert.

Why do I procrastinate? Sometimes it’s because the task I’m avoiding is large and unappealing. Or boring. I generally avoid boring. Sometimes it’s a phone call or email I’m just not feeling. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed (OK, most times I’m overwhelmed). And other times, I just can’t pin the reason down. I have a pretty solid suspicion that I’m not the only one feeling all of these feelings.

But when you sit back and think about it, procrastination does nothing but delay the inevitable. Sometimes it even makes the inevitable more difficult. And it always makes us agonize over the task at hand much longer and much more dramatically than necessary.

Just do it already. Get it done and you can top obsessing about avoiding it or obsessing over how difficult it’s going to make your life in the not-too-distant future.

The first step in this process is figuring out what your go-to procrastination moves are. Because you’re probably procrastinating without even realizing it. I don’t know about you, but I’m one tricky bitch and sometimes I don’t even realize when I’m actively avoiding things (like three seconds ago when I checked my email and got caught down a link rabbit hole). Figure out how you procrastinate and you’ll be able to stomp it out more quickly.

procrastination techniques

Procrastination Technique #1: “Research”

I can’t tell you how often I say I’m going to research something and get led astray by 40 different links that steer me to an entirely different topic. This is especially true for blogging and writing projects but it can also happen when I’m looking for a recipe, a specific product, a gift idea—anything.

Forty five minutes later I peer at the clock in a stupor, wondering how so much time has ticked by while I have gotten exactly nothing accomplished (well, maybe I’ve added more useless information to my brain but that’s about it).

Procrastination Technique #2: Claiming to be good under pressure

I have a deadline that’s a few weeks away. Instead of chipping away at the project to make things easier, I tell myself (and anyone else who will listen) that I work well under pressure.

“I do so much better when I don’t have time to over think things,” I tell myself. While this is true, it completely ignores another part of the equation: the fact that while I’m pushing it off and rationalizing it to myself, I’m also obsessing over whether I’m leaving myself enough time (spoiler alert: I usually don’t) and later I become an ogre while I pull all-nighters and work every spare second trying to play catch up. I always finish on time (I usually make it a rule to finish ahead of time), but not without unnecessary drama.

Procrastination Technique #3: Cleaning

This is my husband’s favorite type of procrastination. Sometimes, when I’m trying really hard to avoid something or I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, I go on a cleaning rampage. I get into this mindset that I absolutely cannot get anything done while surrounded by clutter. I fold all of the laundry, change all of the sheets, empty my closet, color coordinate my shoes—anything to not do what I should be doing.

This type of procrastination is at least productive. It makes my husband happy. It makes my house look nicer. But it still leaves that little nagging task in the back of my brain.

Procrastination Technique #4: Getting distracted by less important tasks

This one is sort of related to cleaning, but it usually involves ticking off other things on my to-do list that are not essential. Deadline looming? Why don’t I do everything else that I need to get done (or just sort of want to get done) besides the job that’s most pressing? I tell myself that I’ll be able to focus better without these other tasks hanging over my head. That’s a lie. I mean, it might be a partial truth. But at the heart of it, I’m only doing all of these other things so I don’t have to do That Which Must Not Be Named (sorry, I’m in the middle of reading the Harry Potter series and I can’t say no to a good meme).

Procrastination Technique #5: Social media

I know you know what I’m talking about. Have something that needs to be done? OK, let’s just check Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/whatever real quick before starting. Two hours later you’re bleary eyed and unsure how what it was you had considered doing. But you know that girl that was never exactly your friend that you went to elementary school with? You totally know what she had for breakfast and how many times she’s worked out this week. Which is essential.

Do any of these things sound familiar? Do you have a go-to technique that I didn’t mention?

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