Productive procrastination

We've all procrastinated from time to time, putting off the things we really ought to be doing... but is it possible to be a productive procrastinator?

Most, if not all of us, have procrastinated at some point in our lives, be it putting off an assignment, avoiding exam revision or simply staying in bed for that little bit longer. For others, procrastinating can feel all-consuming and can put a real strain on our work and lives.

Student Communications Ambassador, Jacob Chesters, lets us in on his secret to getting things done:

'I for one am a keen procrastinator, always have been and possibly always will be. But recently I have taken to "productive procrastination."'

What is productive procrastination?

During lockdown, with next to nothing to do apart from work, I’m sure we’ve all learnt to take joy from our little accomplishments. This is where "productive procrastination" comes in handy if you're like me and you like seeing something ticked off a list.

If I’m dreading starting an assignment or typing up my lecture notes, I allow myself time to put it on pause for a bit. Instead of moping around the house or watching TV, I’ve started to procrastinate by doing other jobs that need to be done.

I might do my laundry, tidy the kitchen and living room or change my bed sheets; just quickly doing something productive so that I can start my day in a positive way. Afterwards, I feel a sense of accomplishment and am often driven to continue being productive. Then, I can start my work with a clear mind and tackle the bigger tasks I've been putting off.

How does it help?

The great thing about productive procrastination is that no time is being wasted it's spent doing things that would need to be done later on. It may sound cliché but “tidy house, tidy mind” is a good way to think about productive procrastination.

By working in a clean, organised working environment you’ll be more efficient and can easily keep track of where everything is. Working at home isn’t the ideal situation, and it’s fair to say that our student homes don’t tend to offer the same spacious and quiet working areas that are available on campus.

In tidying up your working area first and setting it up, you can make it feel more like a working environment, rather than a cluttered desk in your bedroom or the table where you just ate your breakfast.

A neatly organised desk area might not be for everyone, though, as some people prefer to work in organised chaos, with papers spread across their room. To each their own!

It’s not just about being tidy...

If you don’t get satisfaction from cleaning or organising, why not procrastinate productively? Try: 

  • going on a walk to get some fresh air
  • taking time to yourself to listen to music, read a book or meditate
  • doing some life admin  these tasks can tend to get ignored
  • exercising – home workouts are a great way to break up the day
  • planning your upcoming weeks
  • giving your parents, siblings or loved ones a call.

Do something that makes you feel good and puts you in a positive mindset before you tackle that pesky to-do list.

Give it a go and see how you feel!

You can share your productivity techniques with us on social media on Instagram or Twitter.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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