Five Ways to Use Procrastination to Your Benefit: A Counterintuitive Productivity Method

Five Ways to Use Procrastination to Your Benefit: A Counterintuitive Productivity Method by Laura Stack

"Procrastination is a way of giving yourself permission not to do a perfect job, because usually a perfect job isn't required."—John Perry, American philosopher and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. In the late Robert Parker's Spenser mysteries, the main character's girlfriend, psychologist Susan Silverman, had an unusual way of ensuring her productivity: she deliberately made herself late for everything. Whether she had to meet a student in need of guidance or prepare for a class, she ignored the time she'd set to begin preparing, literally waiting until the last minute—and beyond—to get to work. Then she accelerated into a whirlwind of efficiency to ensure she arrived in time and turned in her maximum effort. Some people find this actually works for them in real life; … [Read more...]

Procrastination: Can We Talk About This Later

Laura Stack talks about procrastination. (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

Productivity vs. Paralysis: On Accepting the Reality of Imperfection

Productivity vs. Paralysis: On Accepting the Reality of Imperfection by Laura Stack

“Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice reduces the imperfection.” -- Toba Beta, Indonesian author. problem of perfectionism. We can become so tightly focused on getting things "just right,” it’s difficult to let anything go. Of course, there's always something you can improve, if you just keep nitpicking at it. But at what point do you hit a point of diminishing returns? Eventually, the improvements you introduce are no longer worth the time you spend on them—and if you keep at it, you'll roll past your deadlines and crash your schedule. Let's face it: perfection rarely occurs in this world, and as Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy pointed out, “If you look for perfection, you will never be content.” Refusing to let go of something until it's perfect is akin to jamming a broomstick … [Read more...]

How NOT to Decide What to Do Next

"Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases risk." -- Colin Powell, retired American four-star general and former Secretary of State. "Many people go through life making nothing but 'if' decisions. These are not decisions for success but preparations for failure." -- Zig Ziglar, American motivational guru. It happens every day: You finish a task, check it off your list, and feel a sense of accomplishment. Great—now what? It’s important to quickly decide what to do next. But it's equally important to decide what NOT to do next. Making the right choice can be difficult when you’re drawn to distraction, react to requests, or randomly select the next task. We must choose the correct course of action by design, not by default. So I’d like to give you some guidance on how … [Read more...]

The Anchor of Procrastination: How Dragging Your Heels Weighs You Down

There may be a few perfect employees out there who have never once dragged their heels on a task…but I doubt it. While procrastination is nothing to brag about, we all do it—some more than others. Sometimes procrastination seems reasonable: when work is scarce and efficiency will put us out of a job; when we fear a backlash for being too efficient later on; or when our personal circumstances force us to cut back to a more realistic workload. Sometimes, though, the self-imposed anchor of procrastination stems from more unworthy factors. We may hate a task, find it difficult, or simply want to duck the responsibility. Other factors holding us back can include: • Workload • Fear • Inertia • Lack of self-confidence • Uncertainty • Perfectionism • Distraction • Excessive time pressure • High … [Read more...]

Stop Procrastination in Its Tracks!

This week, I'd like to discuss a form of self sabotage that I see all too often: procrastination, the fine art of putting things off. And off, and off, and off... We've all let things slide when we shouldn't have. It's not always about forgetfulness, or overwork, or even laziness. In fact, some of the worst procrastinators are busy professionals who are otherwise successful in the workplace. Ultimately, all procrastination does is generate anxiety and negativity. So why do we hobble ourselves this way? The reasons are rarely clear-cut, but often they consist of some mix of the following: • Lack of self confidence • Uncertainty • Excess perfectionism • Distractions • Fear (of the unknown or a negative outcome) • A perception of the task as difficult and/or time consuming • Time pressure … [Read more...]

It’s Really Laziness

Spotting incompetence is simple. Look for the people who know full well what they need to change about themselves to be more productive but refuse to do so. We all have flaws and areas in need of improvement. That’s normal and healthy. Moreover, sometimes these weaknesses remain for a time in our blind spots. But the moment an employee’s awareness has been raised, he has an obligation to begin remedying the flaw, not celebrating it. Those who do single themselves out as such are incompetent. You know the ones. Here are some unbelievable but true examples: 1. “Yeah, I know I need to organize my files, but that’s just how I am. Always been this way. You should see my clothes closet at home!” Gee, now there’s an advertisement to broadcast! When employees telegraph their areas of improvement, … [Read more...]

Resourceful Self-Distraction: Is There a “Good” Kind of Procrastination?

"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly -- at first." -- Brian Tracy, American motivational speaker and author. "The greatest conflicts are not between two people, but between one person and himself." -- Garth Brooks, American singer.   Very few people can honestly say they’ve never dragged their heels on a task, or dawdled over a project they should have put more serious effort into. We may not feel proud about it, but we procrastinate anyway. Why? Often, it boils down to one of the common issues: feeling overwhelmed, fearing failure, or disliking the task. Then too, I've known people who dilly-dallied because they feared running out of work too soon. This happens most often in jobs that continue only as long as the work lasts, like construction or temporary positions, though it … [Read more...]

Get Started Already!

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." -- Agatha Christie, British mystery novelist. "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." -- Walt Disney, American animator. No matter how grandiose your plans or how carefully laid your schemes, they're worthless if you never shift gears from meditation into motion. You may have heard the old platitude, “Dreams are just goals without deadlines.” Yes, it’s true we all need to keep ourselves motivated as we work our way through life, but eventually, you've got to get off your duff and get moving. I'm not telling you to leap immediately into action without considering the consequences. I like to say, “Thoughtless action will benefit you no more than action-less thought.” But once you've gathered your resources, considered … [Read more...]

Productivity Minute Video: Procrastination – Can We Talk About This Later?

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro(R), shares tips on overcoming procrastination. (C) 2011 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved … [Read more...]