It’s summertime and my procrastination levels are as high as the humidity. Here are just a few things I did while I was supposed to be writing this blog post:
Read some of the “Funniest Reviews” on Amazon.com.
Moved individual blog post files into my “Completed Blog Post” folder.
Changed the sheets on my bed. Changed the sheets on my son’s bed (he’s sick).
Added three books from the July/August issue of More magazine to my TBR list. (Kind of Cruel, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers, and The Green Boat.)
Looked at pets up for adoption on Petfinder.com.
Washed the French doors that look out onto the lanai.
Now, it’s not that these things had no value—it’s just that they were, perhaps, not the best use of my time right then. However, I did eventually get a blog post written, and my house is a little cleaner and more orderly, so maybe procrastination can be positive after all? Yes, it can—if you use it for your benefit. John Tierney, writing in the New York Times, reported on what some researchers are calling “structured procrastination,” or “productive procrastination.” How it works, according to Tierney: Start your to-do list with a couple of “daunting, if not impossible, tasks that are vaguely important-sounding (but really aren’t) and seem to have deadlines (but really don’t).” Fill out the list with “doable tasks that really matter.” As one researcher says, “We are willing to pursue any vile task as long as it allows us to avoid something worse.” Hence my willingness to wash windows rather than sit down to write.
Positive procrastination: another tool I can use, along with the kitchen timer, baby steps, and rewards, to chip away at my resistance to writing and other meaningful projects I keep putting off.