The Passionate Procrastinator

Bob Goldman on

The problem with procrastination is that so few people take the time to do it right.

Really! Anyone can miss a deadline or fail to show up for critical meetings three weeks in a row, but to do absolutely nothing in the face of constant pressure from your manager takes gumption. It's like being attacked by a pack of rabid wolverines and thinking to yourself, "I really should put 'run' on my to-do list."

It's true that working remotely does make it easier to procrastinate. In the office, if you wanted to avoid work, your only choice was to visit the marketing department. No chance of any work going on there. At home, you have a sourdough starter to feed, a rabbit to worm and a bed to make, assuming you got out of bed in the first place.

Of course, there are some who believe procrastination is a problem that should be corrected, like Bryan Robinson, the author of "Working Remote and 10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Procrastination," a recent post on Forbes.

As Robinson so colorfully points out, those who procrastinate can find themselves "catapulted into a swirl of adrenaline and cortisol stew." This is because, deep down, the key ingredient in that stew is a feeling of inferiority. Procrastinators believe that the negative feedback they'll get for not doing the work is better than the negative feedback they'll get for actually completing it.

I'm going to have to put off describing all 10 of Robinson's techniques for curbing procrastination -- that rabbit is not going to worm itself -- but here are my five faves:


No. 1: "Break Things Down Into Microsteps."

The goal here is to "trick your emotional brain." This won't be easy because, rather than complete your giant, bone-crushing assignment, your emotional brain prefers to lie on your comfy couch and watch season 24 of "The Bachelor."

The strategy here is to break up the assignment into microsteps that are "easy and doable." For example, on day no. 1, sit up. On day no. 2, walk to your desk.

In the days ahead, continue to take microsteps. Plug in your computer; turn on your computer; put on your pants. Stretch out enough microsteps, and your manager will take a macrostep by firing you and your emotional brain. Then the two of you can get back to "The Bachelor." (I always knew Peter would dump Madison. Didn't you?)


swipe to next page



Steve Kelley Heathcliff Bob Gorrell Tom Stiglich Ed Gamble Mike Du Jour