Procrastination is meant to be a bad thing.
That’s how we all think of it, anyway. Procrastination is the thing that we engage in when we should be doing something else; the hours we while away distracting ourselves from the most important tasks in life. When we look back at the hours lost, we think that procrastination is a curse– and if we could cure it, we could advance further with improving our lives and making the most of the opportunities that cross our path.
However, is this necessarily the case? Could procrastination actually be our friend; something that’s truly beneficial?
The answer is clear: yes. Procrastination can be beneficial– but it’s vital that you ensure that yours doesn’t spiral out of control. Below are a few strategies to guarantee that your procrastination is always productive and good for your mental health, rather than taking a negative toll on your life.
When most of us plot a day, we tend to be very rigid with our plans:
- 8.00am: exercise.
- 9.00am: tidy the living room.
- 10.00am: call friend.
… and so on and so forth. We do the same for our work; focusing on details, expecting that we will robotically motor through tasks and be the most productive employee in the history of the world.
This might seem like an effective way of organizing a day, but the truth is, it isn’t. How often do you set out a list of tasks to achieve in a day, then find yourself at 2pm in the afternoon, staring at a to-do list that has actually grown since the morning, and all you have to show for the day is a large amount of time spent on your favorite news and entertainment site indulging in the latest gossip? If you’re anything like 99.9% of people, the answer is: frequently.
If you’re going to experience the benefits of procrastination, you have to be realistic. You have to set out a schedule that allows for the fact that, occasionally, you’re going to divert off course. Occasionally, the lure of social media and your favorite sites is going to be too much to cope with– and that’s okay! You need that procrastination, so why not allow it to exist in your day?
To achieve perfect procrastination, you should always think of your daily schedule in the following ways:
- Vague. Don’t set yourself strict, hourly requirements. It’s also important not to say “I will achieve eight tasks today”; say “I will achieve between six and eight tasks today. Give yourself some wriggle room.
- Acknowledges reality. You might like to think it will only take you an hour to do something, but look at how you use your time realistically; you will likely find that hour needs to be closer to an hour and a half for a majority of tasks, so you need to budget your time realistically.
- Is ordered correctly. How you order your to-do list can make a big difference to how well you get through it; here’s the correct way.
If you follow the strategies above, you can be sure that procrastination will always be helpful and beneficial to your mind– and you’ll still have room in your life to do all the things you want to.