Productive Procrastination

The title may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Everyone procrastinates, and I happen to be an expert at it. Most days, I spend a couple hours procrastinating. So how do I get anything done? I make procrastination work for me: I do simple, less important tasks while avoiding big tasks.

For example, I spent an hour today looking at potential freelance markets instead of writing this blog post. Instead of avoiding work altogether, I’m avoiding the task I least want to do. Sometimes my least exciting prospect is editing a manuscript–whether that be my novel, a short story or a freelance article–and other days it’s a blog post. Every once in a while, writing anything is daunting. On those days I’ll read short stories and take notes or brainstorm for hours rather than write.

I still manage to meet deadlines and, barring complete computer failure, post according to schedule here at Dianna’s Writing Den. The key is that by doing less important tasks first, I’m prepping my mind for the more daunting task on the horizon. Often these smaller tasks inspire me, and I find myself wanting to work on the project I’ve been avoiding all day.

You can make procrastination work for you too. Draft a query to avoid writing a blog post. Work on your novel draft to avoid drafting a query. Put in extra marketing time to avoid editing your novel. All those other tasks need to get done, so procrastinate guilt-free by doing them instead. If you spend a couple hours brainstorming blog when your brain’s fizzled out instead of wandering around on Reddit pretending you’re ‘looking for ideas’, you’ll probably find inspiration–and either way, you’ll have accomplished something.