Before you start reading this — oops, too late for that. Anyway, I was about to say that after you read this, you'll be more aware of procrastination techniques, and that might make procrastination more difficult. So maybe you want to think it over before you read another word.
Ah, I see you're still here. I can only conclude that you're so dedicated to becoming a better procrastinator, that despite the risks, you want to push ahead immediately. Are you sure? Take your time. Get a cup of coffee. Read your email. Chat with your pal down the hall.
OK, enough dilly-dallying. Here we go.
Any dunderhead can procrastinate. But to procrastinate so well that you actually forget about what you weren't doing, and to procrastinate consistently, requires both talent and devotion. Since I have neither, I use this handy list of procrastination techniques.
- Find something else to do that's more "urgent"
- Notice that you won't be able to finish until some majorly important issue is resolved, so don't bother starting
- Start, but then remember something else you have to do. Jump to that "before I forget."
- Enter task at bottom of to do list, then forget to look at to do list
- Start task, think of important question, call someone who can provide answer, get routed to voicemail, leave brief message, then move on to something else you'd rather be doing instead
- Voicemail not returned. Keep doing something else.
- Voicemail still not returned. Consider leaving another voicemail, but don't actually do it.
- Take a break, get coffeeSince reading this article
can make procrastination more
difficult, you might want to
put it off for a day or two
- Check email
- Check email again
- Spend some time moving email messages that should be deleted, from inbox to random file folders where they'll never be seen again
- Google something
- Fiddle around at FaceBook
- Bored. Switch to YouTube.
- Start task just before quitting time, then go home. Next morning, you forget you were doing it.
- Voicemail finally returned, but you're away from desk. Make note to call back.
- Start task, get interrupted (phone call, visitor, etc.), then when you resume, do something else instead
- Make some forward progress, but spend way too much time celebrating it
- Majorly important issue finally resolved. Make a note to find another majorly important issue to take its place.
- Delegate important blocking subtask to someone who is either too busy, or works too slowly, or is unwilling to do it. Even better, someone who's a better procrastinator than you are.
- Make some small forward progress. Whew. Enough for now.
- Find something positive to say in case anyone asks
Love the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrencqRaSyoNZcHUqTGLner@ChacCabcjtVprQQJSgMCoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Make Space for Serendipity
- Serendipity in project management is rare, in part, because we're under too much pressure to see it.
If we can reduce the pressure, wonderful things happen.
- Help for Asking for Help
- When we ask for help, from peers or from those with organizational power, we have some choices. How
we go about it can determine whether we get the help we need, in time for the help to help.
- Team-Building Travails
- Team-building is one of the most common forms of team "training." If only it were the most
effective, we'd be in a lot better shape than we are. How can we get more out of the effort we spend
- Dealing with Negative Progress
- Many project emergencies are actually the result of setbacks — negative progress. Sometimes these
mishaps are unavoidable, but often they're the result of patterns of organizational culture. How can
we reduce the incidence of setbacks?
- Be With the Real
- When the stream of unimportant events and concerns reaches a high enough tempo, we can become so transfixed
that we lose awareness of the real and the important. Here are some suggestions for being with the Real.
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming November 22: Motivation and the Reification Error
- We commit the reification error when we assume, incorrectly, that we can treat abstract constructs as if they were real objects. It's a common error when we try to motivate people. Available here and by RSS on November 22.
- And on November 29: Manipulators Beware
- When manipulators try to manipulate others, they're attempting to unscrupulously influence their targets to decide or act in some way the manipulators prefer. But some targets manage to outwit their manipulators. Available here and by RSS on November 29.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenmCDqyGlssqXaEVOnner@ChacgZEcgmQmAuwxOOCGoCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, USD 28.99)
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- Ten Project Management Fallacies: The Power of Avoiding Hazards
- Most of what we know about managing projects is useful and effective, but some of what we know "just ain't so." Identifying the fallacies of project management reduces risk and enhances your ability to complete projects successfully. Even more important, avoiding these traps can demonstrate the value and power of the project management profession in general, and your personal capabilities in particular. In this program we describe ten of these beliefs. There are almost certainly many more, but these ten are a good start. We'll explore the situations where these fallacies are most likely to expose projects to risk, and suggest techniques for avoiding them. Read more about this program. Here's a date for this program:
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.