This Post is by Lori Woodward Simons, Regular contributing writer for
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The words, Productivity and Procrastination probably sound like complete opposites. A few weeks ago, as I found myself procrastinating by whiling the hours away on Twitter, Facebook, and with answering email, I came to the following conclusion:
Lori, If You're Going To Procrastinate, At Least Do Something Better than Staring at The Computer.
For example, If I'm avoiding beginning a painting or writing an article for Watercolor Magazine - because I'm not sure I can pull it off -- I usually procrastinate by losing myself in social media. After about 10 minutes of checking tweets and answering non-important email, the discomfort of starting the new project fades. However, in reality these tasks are still hanging over my head as I fall deeper into the Twittersphere.
There are just some days when I inevitably will avoid doing what I should be doing... I've been this way all my life and nothing short of a miracle or looming deadline is going to erase my tendency to procrastinate.
Like most of you, I've got a long "to do" list. It gets longer when I spend time online. But what if I were to close my laptop, put it out of site, and get started on... let's say... vacuuming and washing the car? Nope there's nothing terribly exciting about cleaning the interior and exterior of my vehicle, but when I'm facing a more difficult task, like getting started on that commissioned painting, the thought of cleaning the car suddenly seems more attractive.
So, on those days when procrastination happens
, doesn't it make sense to get some other task you're avoiding out of the way instead of using social media as an excuse to avoid work?
Use Social Media as a Business Tool, Not Just A Place To Talk To Friends
Now, I'm not suggesting that time on the Internet is all wasted - in fact, Online Marketing and Networking has changed my life and business for the better. After all, you're reading this right now.
What I am saying is that most of us intrinsically understand the difference between honest work online and procrastinating online. Lately, whenever my "guilt meter" sounds the alarm, instead of saying to myself, "just a few more minutes" (which inevitably turns into a few more hours) -- I stand up, look around, and decide to get busy on something else I've been putting off. It doesn't really matter what the "something else" is, as long as it's more productive than rambling around the Internet without a plan or intention.
By the way, I do allow myself an hour or two to visit with friends on Twitter and Facebook. There's no harm in it as long as I'm not using it as a method to avoid work.
So far, this new way of procrastinating is working well; I'm getting a lot more done, and when I finish something like: washing the car, pulling the weeds, or exercising - ironically I often have no desire to connect online. In fact, when my environment is more organized and under control, I feel energized for painting. That's because when my daily life's tasks are in order, I have space and energy to create. Alternately, when I fall behind and my surroundings seem out of control, that overwhelmed feeling creeps in, and causes me to further procrastinate.
So next time, you find yourself avoiding the studio by Twittering the hours away, why not do something else that needs to get done? If you're anything like me, you'll feel much better about yourself at the end of the day than if you procrastinated via using the Internet.
So... If you're going to waste time anyway, waste it effectively! Make your procrastination productive.