The guys over at the website MakeUseOf.com usually write articles about software, websites, and other utilities. For those of us with ADD and technical skills, it’s a productivity nightmare. Not because they do anything bad, but because they offer up so many electronic goodies in the form of free software and tools that it is hard not to get distracted and end up spending hours tracking down all of the great new distraction free writing programs and testing them out when you should be working.
When an article showed up in my RSS feed from the site regarding “productive procrastination” I figured it was a typo, or more likely, a targeted SEO keyword phrase that they were aiming for with the article. I do the same thing here and on other blogs and websites in order to court Google’s SERP favor. Every title I write on this blog, for example, I end up trying to shoehorn in either ADD or ADHD plus some other useful keyword in order to not torpedo my own posts.
In this case, it was neither. It turns out that the article’s premise is that there are ways in which one can procrastinate in a productive manner. The idea being that if you are going to procrastinate anyway (not a bad premise), then you may as well do it in a way that is beneficial to improve your overall time management. For example, if there is a way you can network or otherwise build your professional contacts network while you are not writing that report that is due Monday, at least the time being wasted is building up something that you need anyway, maybe sooner than you think if you don’t finish up that report!
Like many good ideas, nothing in the article is earth shattering, but the concept could be used to one’s advantage.
After thinking about it for a few minutes I considered my own list of ways to procrastinate productively:
- Return phone calls – Everyone procrastinates using email, so that doesn’t count. Actual phone calls, however, are usually important enough to count as productivity.
- Pay Bills – If you are an adult with ADD, you know that paying bills can get lost in the shuffle. If you aren’t writing that 1,000 word article due in two hours, you might as well avoid some late fees while you are not doing it.
- Blog – If you have a professional blog, or a website that makes money from your writing it, then write and post an update. It might not be the most productive thing you could be doing, nor the one that would earn the most money (Ahem!) but it could pay off in the long-term and it might make you feel better to get something off your distracted mind so that it can focus on what it should be doing.
- Read – Not fiction, not websites, real, live, knowledge building reading. If you can’t focus on what you should be focusing on, then try and get smarter.
- Nap – If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or you are just tired, getting distracted is too easy. Procrastinating when you are tired is just as easy. Try a 20 minute snoozer and see if it restores your productivity. If it works, that “wasted” 20 minutes will probably make the remaining hours and minutes of your day more productive enough to make up for the nap. Just don’t get sucked into laying in bed all day.
Anyone else have ideas for productive procrastination?