A while ago I stumbled on this concept calledÂ Structured procrastination and I wanted to try it immediately.
You probably are aware of “productive procrastination“.
It means that you have one task that you “have to do”, but in order to avoid it you do other things, such as cleaning or some other things that are below in priority compared to this task.
Structured procrastination is a method used to exploit this tendency.
How to exploit it
Everyone has a list of things they should do, either in ones head or put on paper.
The one on the top is usually the most important to do, but it’s also the task that one feels most resistance towards to.
It’s so much easier to procrastinate on that top task and work on the second or third most important one.
Here comes the tricky part:
You’ll have to figure out a task that is (seemingly) important, has (seemingly) a deadline, but you’ll live without doing it (right now).
For John Perry that task had been “finishing an essay for a volume in the philosophy of language”.
For me it’s studying to a test related to my profession – it’s important, but I’ll live without doing it.
Of course you often still has to do the task that’s “top priority”, but which can be procrastinated on. Then you do one of these two things:
- Find something “more important” to put on top of the list
- Just prioritize something else to the top of the list
You are deceiving yourself
You can’t help but think that you are essentially deceiving yourself by mentally prioritizing something on “top of your list”, which you intent to procrastinate on.
This is exactly what it is and so far I’ve found it working extremely well.
You’ll just have to convince your mind that you are in fact procrastinating on that “top task” when you are working on something that has “less priority”.
This is exactly what I’m doing right now: in the past I’ve mentally prioritized this blog on top of my list, so I’ve felt lots of resistance towards it.
Now this is the second or third one and I’m enjoying while I’m “procrastinating” on this.
When you feel like procrastinating on your secondary task you’ll just have to bring back to your mind the top priority task and remind yourself that you already are avoiding something.
Maybe you get it, maybe you don’t, but I assure you that it’s worth further look into it.