The Crave

Weekly tips and stories that will help you do your job and make you smile (or groan).

By Sean Filidis January 6, 2022

A better way to procrastinate

(read it now, read it later)

It takes a lot of time and effort to write something worth reading. And it's not physical effort. It doesn't matter how much you can lift or how far you can run. It's mental effort, which is (arguably) more expensive. Whenever something is difficult or demanding — whether physically or mentally — expect to experience the very dependable tendency to put it off. To procrastinate is human, after all. (Hmm. While that sounds true, it just occurred to me that I have no idea if other animals can procrastinate too. I'm going to look it up.) Conventional advice says to just stop it. Helpful, right? I'm gonna try that as soon as I reach the end of my TikTok feed. The truth is, procrastination is all but unavoidable. So, rather than telling you to stop, I want to tell you how to do it better. See, the problem is twofold. Procrastination keeps you from getting words on paper, but it also makes you feel bad about the time you're wasting. And that guilty feeling has the nasty tendency to fuel further dilly-dallying — a classic vicious cycle. The trick here is killing the guilt and implementing acceptable procrastination (Ooh, I wonder if that's been trademarked?). What do I mean by that? That you should be more intentional about what you're doing while you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. Make sense?

The truth is, procrastination is all but unavoidable. So, rather than telling you to stop, I want to tell you how to do it better.

Here's how I do it: At the beginning of my day, I pick a few things I'm allowed to do when I feel the need to procrastinate — and then I stick to those. See, everyone has things they enjoy doing when they're bored — things that are also somewhat useful. Maybe you've been learning the guitar. Perhaps you like reading Wikipedia articles. When working on a challenging project — like, I don't know, writing a newsletter — decide beforehand on some things you'll permit yourself to do when you feel your attention waning. While this won't solve the productivity problem directly, it will break the cycle and remove the guilty feeling you get from mindlessly browsing the internet. And later, when you miss your deadline, at least you will have done something moderately useful! Oh, I looked it up. Here's an article about procrastination among pigeons.

Let’s talk about it together!

Share your thoughts on LinkedIn using #thecravediscussion This week’s topic: I've been learning some new songs on the piano. What are some (semi) useful things you like to do when you need a break from work?

Currently craving

Here’s what I’m into right now.

  • Reading: A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge. Yes, it’s sci-fi. I get most of my creativity and good ideas from reading science fiction, so stop judging me.
  • Listening: Dark All Day by Gunship. Stranger Things and Ready Player One have made 80s style synthwave music popular, and this is the very best of it!
  • Working on: I recently wrote a post for the Foleon Blog that was exciting because it was different. It’s the true story (only slightly embellished!) of a paradigm shift that made our marketing team more effective.

Sean Filidis

Senior Copywriter

About the author

Writer, tech junkie, marketer, musician, traveler, photographer. At Foleon, I’m generally in charge of words and enforcing strict company-wide comma quotas.

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