Procrastination, like smoking, drinking alcohol and overeating, is an extremely difficult habit to break, writes Frank Partnoy for FastCompany.com. Like overeating, though, it’s even more challenging because it’s impossible to give it up entirely. While humans don’t need to smoke or drink alcohol, they can’t survive without eating and they can’t exist without putting off some tasks until later.
We all have an endless list of things to do in life, so we have to put some things off. Unfortunately, when we put off everything, nothing gets done. But it is possible to procrastinate in a way that allows you to get things done and come off looking like a productive wizard.
Stanford University philosophy professor John Perry wrote an essay in 1996 advocating “structured procrastination,” which starts with creating a list of the things you need to get done.
The list should have a few important—but not critical, or extremely time-sensitive—tasks at the top and less important tasks below. You will procrastinate the items at the top, while working through the items further down the list, and in doing so, you will end up getting a lot accomplished.
— Adapted from “The Procrastination-Killing Tactic To Try Now (Or In 10 Minutes),” Frank Partnoy, FastCompany.com.