Procrastination — the thing in which you end up doing rather than do the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
Since my teenage years, I’ve been an avid consumer of productivity methods. However, like most people, I’m also prone to procrastination. Facebook, Twitter and every possible website out there would always find their ways back into my life and quickly de-prioritize what I’m supposed be doing.
While sheer willpower alone did work for some occasions, procrastination is something that often plagues my day and quickly sidetracks my intentions.
So rather than letting my hours be wasted on scrolling endlessly on Facebook (which is getting somewhat boring with their current algorithm), I developed a method called alternative procrastination for the purposes staying productive.
What is alternative procrastination?
Alternative procrastination is the compromise between aimlessly wasting your time to avoid doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing with doing something that will positively contribute to your existence but still not doing the thing that you’re supposed to be doing.
Here are 21 things on my list of approved alternative procrastination.
1. Do the dishes
Because I haven’t got a dishwasher, those dishes aren’t going to do itself.
2. Go for a walk
Because 30 minutes around the block after 2 hours of sitting will help my mental state and ability to focus.
3. Do the laundry
I tend to do housework as a means of procrastination instead of making it a scheduled, must do thing. I did that a few times but ended up procrastinating it instead.
Oh the irony.
4. Write something
I’m a words person. Constructing words for others to read is my thing but not quite my day job or the main thing I’m supposed to be working on. Besides, I’ve always started a blog and writing consistently is the first step towards one.
5. Draw something
I’m not an artist. I used to be good at art until I was encouraged to take economics instead during my high school years. Now I wished I had listened to my gut feelings.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy drawing things. Maybe I can be as good as I once was with a little practice now and again.
6. Clean my work space
I’m a messy person by nature but I do also enjoy having a tidy desk. Anything to not do the thing I’m supposed to be doing, right?
7. Call mother
Self inflicted method of side tracking. These phone calls usually lasts around 30 minutes to an hour. After talking to her, I don’t know what it is but I usually get a renewed sense to work on the thing I’m supposed to be working on.
Besides, keeping in touch with your parents isn’t such a bad thing.
8. Get the groceries
Because food is life and an empty fridge does not bode well for healthy eating.
9. Play with the child
Although only 3 months old, playing with the baby is great bonding time. Besides, it’s better than Facebook and contributes to my long term relationship with her.
10. Water the plants
When watering the plants was a thing on my list to do, I never really did it. As a result, 90% of the time they died.
Now they’re fabulously green and hydrated all the time.
11. Read a book
We’re talking a physical book. An article on the internet usually means endless on-clicking that always somehow ends in Facebook.
There’s something about reading a physical book and also another way to increase your yearly book consumption.
12. Clean the fridge
Because that’s were your food lives. It also helps keep your fridge up to date with the latest and freshest things.
13. Work on my French
I’ve always wanted to speak French but haven’t quite mastered it yet. Learning a few phrases or words each time I want to avoid doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing has helped my ability to understand and speak the language a lot better.
14. Do yoga
Because sometimes walking around the block isn’t quite enough to get me to do the thing I’m supposed to be doing.
15. Clear my inbox and unsubscribe from things I don’t read anymore
I get a lot of subscribed things come through which I never read. It’s still a process and taking my inbox down to zero usually takes a lot of time.
16. Clean my desktop
Being organized digitally also helps keep the mental clutter in check and keep you focused when you’re actually doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
17. Take out the trash
Bins are not going to empty themselves.
18. Fold the laundry
I usually do this one as a last resort because of how long it takes and futile it seems. But if I’m desperate enough, I tackle at least the towels and then go back to what I’m supposed to be doing.
19. Check and clear the mailbox
The physical one that’s in front of the house. It only takes a few moments and enough distraction time spent to give myself a mental break if needed from the task I’m supposed to be doing.
Someone, somewhere would have put in a mailer on the latest sale. It can be amusing at times and keeps me updated on what the local shops are doing.
20. Marinate something
Because it’s good to have a nice dinner every now and then.
21. Do the thing you’re supposed to be doing in order to avoid doing the thing you’re not supposed to be doing
This is procrastination inception at its finest. There is something about doing the thing you’re not supposed to be doing that defines the joy of procrastination.
At some point, you’re not going to want to do anything on the list of things you’re allowed to do when you feel the urge to procrastinate. Either that or you’ve done most of the things on the list and don’t want to do anymore so you end up going back to what you were supposed to do.
* * *
This may or may not work for you. But for me, it’s done me a great deal of good.
The point of this is to keep me off social media, which can be a time sucker that drains away the day. I don’t achieve anything of significance when I’m on Facebook, so I try and stay off it for productivity reasons.
There are other things that you can do other than social media and everyone will have their own lists of alternative approve procrastination tasks. This is my list and I’ve done so much more because of it.
Also, putting my chores down as an alternative procrastination task has also increased my rate of doing them. I don’t like chores and I avoided doing them before they became one of my procrastinations.