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The Procrastinator's Paradox: How to Get Things Done by Putting Them Off

Written by
Employer Branding
Published on
April 25, 2024
Updated on
April 25, 2024

Have you ever wondered why you have the urge or impulse to tackle a non-urgent task while you have more important tasks to complete? It is common for us to feel overwhelmed with dreaded tasks and would rather do anything else than work on them. To most people, procrastination is laziness in its purest form, but what if there’s a way to procrastinate productively? Let's dive into this paradoxical phenomenon and uncover its secrets, shall we?

Pros and Cons of Productive Procrastination


1. Farewell, mental block: Occasionally, stepping away from a task allows your brain to sit on it in the background. It’s much like putting a stubborn stain in a pre-wash solution. Sometimes you just have to let it sit for a while before the magic happens. In addition to exploring new ideas and avenues, procrastination can be productive.

2. Feeling accomplished: Crossing things off your to-do list gives you a sense of progress. It’s like arranging puzzles by the edge pieces - you might not have the whole picture yet, but at least you’re making headway!

3. Avoiding burnout: Understandably, staring at the same document for hours can turn your brain into mush. Imagine a world where you can work in energising bursts instead of soul-crushing marathons. Productive procrastination can be your escape hatch.


1. Time blindness: You’re scrolling through funny videos, and before you know it, it’s 3 hours later and you have not achieved anything at all. Productive procrastination can quickly evolve into unproductive time wasting if it’s not managed properly.

2. Last minute rush: While procrastination can be an avenue to explore new ideas, it can sometimes lead to frantic scrambling to meet deadlines. While you might be able to produce something brilliant under pressure, but at what cost to your sanity?

3. Deadline demon: Ever tried writing a thesis the night before its due date? It’s like trying to build a sandcastle during high tide—messy and simply impossible. Deadlines exist for a reason, and missing them might lead to unpleasant consequences. Procrastination often leads to subpar work that could have been avoided with proper time management.

Tips to Master Productive Procrastination to Get Things Done

Pick your battles: Instead of procrastinating on the entire task, break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Procrastinate on one aspect while still making progress on others. 

Set time limit: Give yourself a designated procrastination window to avoid getting sucked into a vortex. Treat it like a cheat code—20 minutes of guilt-free organisational bliss, then it’s back to business.

Pick tasks that complement your main project: Alternate between tasks to keep things fresh. If you find yourself procrastinating on one project, switch and work on something else for a while. Variety is the spice of procrastination, after all.

Reward yourself: Set a reward system to incentivise productivity. Give yourself a treat or a break once you’ve completed certain tasks or have reached a milestone. Positive reinforcement is key – your brain will associate productive stalling with happy feelings, making you more likely to repeat the behaviour.

In conclusion, productive procrastination is a tool, not a lifestyle, and if used wisely, it can be utilized as a powerful tool in your arsenal. By understanding how productive procrastination works, you will be able to navigate the precarious balance between getting things done and giving yourself mental breaks that you need. So go forth and conquer, procrastinate with purpose, and watch as your productivity soars to new heights!

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