Positive procrastination

Positive procrastination

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 book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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