Procrastination: a feature, not a bug

Early this week I wrote about my favourite form of procrastination … email.  

I reckon there are three primary reasons why we procrastinate, and three things to look at if you want to stop. 

But even before we get there – stop beating yourself up about it. Procrastination is natural – we evolved to take our rest when we can get it. As Josh Kaufman says, laziness is a feature, not a bug. So ease up on yourself. 

So – the three reasons we procrastinate: 

  1. Wrong task to energy allocation. This happens when we try and perform a task that requires a high amount of energy when our energy is low. If sales calls are hard for you, they will need a high energy level. If you go to make sales calls after lunch when your energy is at 5/10, you’ll probably find yourself going down a Facebook tunnel. 

  2. Wrong context. This means the reason you are doing the task isn’t congruent with what you really want. Right now I want to spend more time in Melbourne with my girls and less time on the road – so it’s no wonder I find myself procrastinating about work that takes me interstate. 

  3. Wrong environment. Your environment has a much bigger impact on your productivity than you think. This is tricky, because we don’t really think it applies to us. I don’t really believe clutter is going to impact my ability to do a task … except it does. I’m writing this blog in a café – I know this environment works better for my writing than my office. And I know I should spend more time getting the environment in my office right. 

Next time you find yourself procrastinating, turn down the internal chatter that’s telling you how much you suck, and ask yourself which of these three reasons is behind it. And let me know what you discover.