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Productive Procrastination

I have always been the Queen of Procrastination.

Beyonce can take the title for everything else, but procrastination is mine, damn it!

I’m truly a champion at the practice. This is especially true on days like today when the tulips are in bloom, Netflix just came out with season 6 of Archer, and my book is staring at me making me feel guilty for not yet cracking its spine (for a book club I have in two weeks - you see my point?).

In college, I procrastinated on a level that was almost impressive.

I became skilled in the art of pumping out papers at 4 a.m. I even met my husband when I procrastinated walking my part of a Cancer Research Walk (admittedly, I wouldn't change a thing about that evening).

How did I procrastinate? I watched 24 TV shows each week (It’s exhausting to even think about that now). I also surfed Facebook, texted with friends, read magazines, napped, and did a bunch of sitting around watching the time pass.

I knew I wanted to change, but I wasn’t sure how to start.

After doing some research and soul searching, I decided to change the way I thought of procrastination. Since I knew I was a natural procrastinator, I decided to accept that fact and find a new way to tackle the problem. Instead of thinking of my procrastinated time as wasted, I started thinking of it as time I could use.

I began filling my “procrastination time” with things that could help me achieve my personal and business goals.

For instance, this blog post is brought to you by procrastination.

I call this practice “Productive Procrastination.” (According to Urban Dictionary this might already be a word….this feel like the time I thought I invented the Spork. Bummer.)

Here are some ways you can practice Productive Procrastination

1. Learn a Language

You can learn a language FOR FREE with Duolingo. As a word nerd, I’m a big fan of languages. I plan on learning Italian by the end of the year. I’m already well on my way. When I need a break from work or just can’t get started on an article, I spend 20 minutes practicing my conjugations.

2. Watch a TED Talk

TED Talks have the combined ability to inspire and teach you. You can select from thousands of amazing talks. I usually search for talks that can inspire me in my work and bring about new ways to view the world. My two favorites are Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk about creativity and Brother David Stiendl-Rast’s discussion of gratitude.

3. Watch a Periscope Video

Have you heard of Persicope? It’s an app from Twitter that lets users live stream videos from anywhere in the world. While I’ll admit that there is a lot of crap to dig through, there are also some great videos in foreign countries. In the last week, I’ve watched the Eiffel Tower light up at night, walked along a beach in Thailand, and toured the Australian countryside.

4. Network on Social Media

If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you should already have designated time in your week to set up your social media posts and activities. But you might not be as diligent about networking within your groups or reaching out to people individually. Instead of browsing your friends' Facebook pages, spend some time commenting in groups, responding to people’s questions about your niche, and finding new connections online.

5. Focus on What You Want

I’m a big believer in envisioning the things you want in your future. Entrepreneur recently posted a great article about expecting to be successful rather than wishing to be. When we focus on the life we will one day have, we subconsciously align ourselves with that vision and become more likely to perform the actions that will bring us to that reality. I know exactly where I will be in five years. I focus on this thought and the actions it will take to get there every day.

So there you have it: five ways to be productive while procrastinating.

Note: Many people would add things like cleaning and exercise to this list, but I hate those things. If they were my backup options, I’d just end up wandering aimlessly on Facebook. No good.

What ways do you productively procrastinate?

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