Was there ever a time in your life when you knew you have a lot of things waiting for you to get done, and yet you are not ready to work on them? You instead work on other things that are not as urgent or as important, like wiping down your desk or taking your time washing the dishes. You procrastinate. You might feel guilty about it, but the good thing is you are not alone. A lot of people go through this pace and it’s not always a bad thing. If done correctly and mindfully, productive procrastination can even be a very good way to help you go through your to-do list and get all of your work done.

What is Productive Procrastination?

Productive procrastination is a process that some people use to help them manage their thoughts and emotions towards completing their pending tasks. Some people tend to view procrastination in a negative light, but when done properly, procrastination can actually be a healthy way of dealing with your to-do list. Procrastinating on purpose has its own positive effects as it helps us reorganize our approach in accomplishing our tasks. Avoiding one task to complete another is not wrong. As long as you are getting work done, it’s still a healthy way of managing your thoughts towards completing your tasks.

Sometimes, when we procrastinate, we tend to harbor some negative feelings against ourselves and that makes us feel less productive. This kind of pushes us to instead do other things that will make us feel better, such as watching a feel-good movie or other stress-busting stuff that are not work-related. The way this negative feeling is dealt with is what gives procrastination a bad name. This is where productive procrastination can help. Combining productivity and procrastination can help you deal with your thoughts and feelings, while getting some essential work done at the same time. The question is how do you do it?

Ways to Procrastinate Productively

There can be two types of procrastination: good and bad. Good and bad procrastination are simply the ways we handle the urge to procrastinate. If you procrastinate by doing things that are unproductive such as playing games, watching TV or scrolling through social media posts, then that is bad procrastination. On the other hand, if you procrastinate by doing other tasks that you can consider important, then that is a good way to procrastinate. If you procrastinate in a good way, you can be productive. Here are some productive procrastination ideas that can help you tick items off of your to-do list, with the help of a Kanban board.

1. Create a list of things to procrastinate with.

A good way to use your procrastination time is by getting other essential things done. First, create a list of things that you can do should you feel like putting off doing something else. Think of things that you would usually feel like doing that are normally a part of your tasks, be it something important personally or for your work. Things that you include on the list should allow you to simply redirect your interest towards another task that is also important in one way or another. This way, you are doing productive procrastination. And to make it easier for you to monitor your list, you can create a personal Kanban board and simply create individual Kanban cards for each thing that you need to accomplish.

personal kanban board

2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

One way to help you stay productive while procrastinating is focusing on your health. Maybe you can choose to spend your procrastination on doing some exercises, preparing a healthy meal, or meditating. This can also help improve the way you feel and motivate you to get more tasks done once you are ready to get some important tasks done. You can also use your personal Kanban board to remind yourself to live a healthy life. 

Portfolio Kanban - Reduce Overburden - Improve Flow

3. Find time to relax.

When you have a lot of work waiting for you, you tend to feel pressured and uneasy. Stress creeps in and can affect your motivation towards work. Whenever this happens, try to do something that will help you feel more relaxed. Maybe have a cup of tea, practice mindfulness, take a nap, or something that will help you relax and get back a healthy mental state. You can also post some relaxation tips and mantra on your Kanban board to easily remind yourself of your usual ways to relax. You can consider relaxation as productive procrastination as it helps refresh your mind and body so that you will be more prepared physically and mentally to get more work done.

4. Spend time with important people in your life.

Another productive procrastination idea is spending some quality time with your loved ones. Talking to people that you value in life, sharing your thoughts with them and having someone you value to spend good times with can be a healthy way to take a break from work. Be it virtual or in-person, having the chance to speak to people can be a good way to destress and make you feel better. It can also help improve your focus, so that once you are done socializing, you can be more productive at work.

5. Read stuff that can boost your work-related knowledge.

read books

If you enjoy reading, it can be a good way to procrastinate. To turn it into a form of productive procrastination, it’s better to read books or online resources that can help boost your knowledge about your work. It can be news about your industry, articles on best practices, useful business resources, and other references that can help you with your work. You can also use your procrastination time to look for references that you can use for 

6. Break big tasks into small ones

If you want productive procrastination to be more effective for you, try breaking your tasks, especially the big ones, into smaller tasks. This way, you can move from one small task to another and have no problem procrastinating in between these small tasks, as you are still getting some work done. And to help you better keep track of your progress, you can create a Kanban board to detail each task on their individual cards, then once you accomplish one task, you can move on to another task as soon as you are ready to get more work done. 

7. Automate what you can

If you want to keep your productivity up even if you are a terrible procrastinator, it’s a good idea to automate some of your regular and repetitive tasks. If you are handling a team and need to frequently set reminders or send invitations for a weekly meeting, you can easily automate these. If you are a social media manager, it’s a good idea to take advantage of your productive hours and automate as many social media posts as you can. If you frequently have to answer the same questions from the hundreds of emails that you receive regularly, you can also create automated responses for them. Just make sure that they don’t sound like they are robot-generated. By automating some of your frequent tasks, you won’t have to worry about getting stuck at just one task and still stay productive in one way or another. 

Productive Procrastination with Kanban

If procrastination is limiting your productivity, there is always a way for you to improve how you handle your work and get things done. It’s important to have a clear visibility of all the tasks that are waiting to get done. This way, you will always have an idea on what to do next. By using Kanban for your procrastination, you can have a clearer picture of all the things that you need to accomplish, including their urgency, deadlines and other resources that can help you get them done. To turn your procrastination into productive procrastination, you just need to procrastinate on some tasks by doing other things that can help you get some work done. This way, you are still being productive even while procrastinating.

Productivity involves discipline. Procrastination is not always a bad thing, especially if you know how to take control of all the tasks that you need to fulfill. Make productive procrastination work for you by improving your work visibility through Kanban Zone.

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