Lean In to Procrastination

By Chelsea Babin

Feeling the urge to procrastinate at work? Don’t fight it any more! Instead, take a page from Marc Andreessen’s book.  The world famous entrepreneur admits that one of his secret weapons is structured procrastination which he describes as, “never fighting the tendency to procrastinate—instead you should use it to your advantage in order to get other things done. Generally in the course of a day, there is something you have to do that you are not doing because you are procrastinating. While you’re procrastinating, just do lots of other stuff instead.”

Instead of allowing natural tendencies towards putting things off hamper your productivity, use it to get other things done. There needs to be a certain level of prioritizing stuck in the back of your mind if you’re going to give this method a try. You can’t put off important projects forever, but temporary procrastination can prove to be productive if you do it in a structured way.

One of Andreessen’s recommended approaches to adjusting your perspective on procrastination is to implement an Anti-Todo list. He said that, “every time you do something—anything—useful during the day, write it down in your Anti-Todo List on the card. Each time you do something, you get to write it down and you get that little rush of endorphins that the mouse gets every time he presses the button in his cage and gets a food pellet. And then at the end of the day,…take a look at today’s card and its Anti-Todo list and marvel at all the things you actually get done that day.”

If an Anti-Todo list doesn’t work for you, try making three or four to do lists a day. When you’re stuck on the tasks for one of these lists and feel like procrastinating, tuck it away and switch to another list. You can organize these lists by project size, deadline or importance. The important thing is to only look at one at a time, otherwise you risk overwhelming your senses and spiraling into procrastination.

When you can’t fight your way through procrastination, it’s time to stop resisting. Will you try any of these methods of structured procrastination today?