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? rbrendRBHYempcyGrKBoVner@ChacdvFSCFnTdzGYxwsHoCanyon.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:
- Express Your Appreciation and Trust
- Some people in your organization have done really outstanding work. You want to recognize that work,
but the budget is so small that anything you could do would be insulting. What can you do? Express your
Appreciation and Trust.
- Mastering Meeting Madness
- If you lead an organization, and people are mired in meeting madness, you can end it. Here are a few
tips that can free everyone to finally get some work done.
- The Perils of Piecemeal Analysis: Content
- A team member proposes a solution to the latest show-stopping near-disaster. After extended discussion,
the team decides whether or not to pursue the idea. It's a costly approach, because too often it leads
us to reject unnecessarily some perfectly sound proposals, and to accept others we shouldn't have.
- Asking Clarifying Questions
- In a job interview, the interviewer asks you a question. You're unsure how to answer. You can blunder
ahead, or you can ask a clarifying question. What is a clarifying question, and when is it helpful to ask one?
- Irrational Deadlines
- Some deadlines are so unrealistic that from the outset we know we'll never meet them. Yet we keep setting
(and accepting) irrational deadlines. Why does this happen?
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming October 17: Overt Belligerence in Meetings
- Some meetings lose their way in vain attempts to mollify a belligerent participant who simply will not be mollified. Here's one scenario that fits this pattern. Available here and by RSS on October 17.
- And on October 24: Conversation Irritants: I
- Conversations at work can be frustrating even when everyone tries to be polite, clear, and unambiguous. But some people actually try to be nasty, unclear, and ambiguous. Here's Part I of a small collection of their techniques. Available here and by RSS on October 24.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenOVqGLEqCRMZhdMHYner@ChacbqZwJuQPkjcbcwitoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, 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
- 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.