Positive procrastination


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Everyone but the most tirelessly (and tiresome) self-motivated has at one point or another procrastinated in the face of some worthy activity. I think I’ve found a way to use procrastination for profit and gain; read on to see whether I have…

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At university, I recall how my housemates and I were practically fighting to do the washing-up, which had otherwise lain festering for weeks, over the more eminently pressing task of revising for our finals.  

I have since reached the conclusion that I could put this tendency to procrastinate to profitable use.  Here’s my system:

  1. Create a list of the main activities you’re meant to be doing
  2. Do the ones that your husband / wife / partner is threatening bloody violence over
  3. Rank everything else in terms of desirability, most desirable first
  4. Attempt the first task on your list
  5. Observe how everything else on the suddenly becomes more enticing
  6. When bored, attempt the next item down the list
  7. When bored, either remind self that it is more interesting than the original task, or start the next one
  8. Eventually you’ll find equilibrium between desirability and boredom and be able to complete a task.  Perhaps.

Thus I exploit the positive power of procrastination. Not sure how I ever get back to the original task though… Of course, if you fail to create the list in the first place, then you may be beyond redemption.  Have you considered a career in street theatre?

Next time: how to use Sod’s Law to make the universe revolve around you.

Some slightly more useful thoughts on procrastination: #

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The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management
by Jock Busuttil

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Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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