We all experience certain moments in our lives where our whole life feels like one big procrastination. I’ve read articles on what the most effective ways are to deal with procrastination and how to get more productive by doing x amount of things. They helped, but they never really addressed the problem of procrastination itself.
So I searched for something that effectively dealt with the roots of procrastination and I found an intuitive approach on how to deal with procrastination. It’s called; structured procrastination. However, since this approach is very intuitive it won’t be something that fulfills the needs and desires for the mainstream.
Only the ‘out of the box’ thinkers will love this approach. So if you’re still with me, get ready for a unique perspective on how to deal with procrastination.
What is Structured Procrastination?
In a fancy way, structured procrastination is described as the fine art of doing less, but in a structured way. But in a more operational description; instead of doing that ‘very important thing’ that you keep postponing, you need to focus your attention on other things that are on your to-do list with the consequence that it becomes more alluring to do that ‘very important thing’.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
Requirements for structured procrastination
You need a certain amount of self-deception. Yes, you need to ‘lie’ to yourself or as I like to call it; you need to trick yourself. You need to trick your mind into thinking that the ‘very important thing’ is actually not that important and that the other tasks on your to-do list are more important.
Luckily, procrastinators are unconsciously an expert in self-deception. When we finally start working on the ‘very important thing’ that we kept postponing we often feel the need to reward ourselves for our good behavior. And although this may seem like a positive reinforcement of our behavior, the reward that we award ourselves is often excessive in relation with the amount of time we actually worked on that ‘very important thing’. But you deserved it, right?
How structured procrastination works
Start by tricking yourself about the priority level of the tasks you need to do. So you’re creating a situation in your mind where you lower the priority level of the ‘very Important thing’ (but in reality it’s still the same) and value the priority level of the other tasks on your to-do list as higher than the ‘very important thing’ (when in fact they’re also still the same).
When you act like the other things on your to-do list are more important then it’ll be much easier to take action on the important task. Besides that, our lives are dynamic, so every day or week, new tasks are being added to our to-do list with some even having a higher priority level.
This makes it also more tempting to get started on the important task, because it’s priority level lowers. Finally, when you’re doing all the other things on your to-do list, a momentum of execution is created which brings focus back to the most important task of all.
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” – David Allen
The beauty of structured procrastination is that it’s not forcing you to learn anything new. Instead, structured procrastination goes with the flow and wants you to give in to the temptation of procrastinating. That’s why you should give it your very best shot, because finally there is a solution for procrastination that accepts you for who you are and still manages to make you more productive.