Alfred Montapert – “Don’t confuse motion with progress – a rocking horse keeps moving but doesn’t make progress.”
The web definition of procrastination is “the act of procrastinating; putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.” I define procrastination as doing ANYTHING other than the activity you defined as you #1 activity!
Confusing motion with progress I call “productive procrastination”. You will know you are suffering from this phenomena when you have a task list of 20 items, and you do anything BUT the #1 most important item on your list. You fool yourself into thinking you are making progress towards your goals because you are busy – all day, yet you aren’t working on the items that will actually move your business forward!
Some common “productive procrastination” tasks
- Working on a project due next month, instead of the one due tomorrow
- Most paperwork (unless the deadline is NOW!)
- Most cleaning (unless the President of the US, Queen of England, or your mother-in-law is visiting in an hour)
- Surfing the internet for the “perfect image” for your blog post (just find one and use it!)
- ANYTHING EXCEPT YOUR #1 PRIORITY!
I am most certainly NOT advocating never cleaning, never doing paperwork, or never working on projects ahead of time! My hope is to draw your attention to the fact that just because you are busy, doesn’t mean you are making progress!
Good news – if you suffer from “productive procrastination” there are some cures . . .
- Identify your #1 task each evening. Write this task on a Post-It note. Put the Post-It note over your task list (covering it up). Complete this task first, then look at the other items on your list.
- Schedule one hour each day to do “productive procrastination” tasks. Each time you find yourself slipping into your procrastination mode – remind yourself that you have scheduled time for these tasks – LATER.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes. Allow yourself to do anything you want until the timer goes off. BUT, once the 5 minutes is up – work on your #1 priority until completion.
- Play your “I’m getting motivated to work” song. Dance around the room, file papers, clean your desk, fold laundry, surf the internet, whatever. But once the song ends – procrastination time is over – and back to work!
- Use a “work buddy”. Set a deadline to complete your #1 priority and ask your accountability partner to check in with you at the appointed time. If you haven’t finished your task by the agreed upon time, you owe an agreed upon penalty.
Please – add to the list. What are your common “productive procrastination” tasks? What are some of your “cures”? Post below – I truly am curious!
AND remember the rocking horse!