I consider myself to be a jack of many trades, master of none. But among the talents where I approach mastery, I think my strongest may be procrastination. It's become more than a trade, rather something of a lifestyle for me. I've committed to its practice on an almost daily basis. That practice has helped me get to the point where it's second nature--I can perform it effortlessly at an incredibly high level. My brain is trained to accept the excuses as to why I can't get a particular "to-do" list item done at that moment without question or thought. I've been thinking about seeking a great procrastinator to emulate and talk technique with them, but I keep putting it off.
There are many who claim to have a proficiency in procrastination, but I feel that my breakdown of the two classes of procrastination may give me an edge. This is just an outline of the philosophy. A further breakdown will come at a later date. Maybe.
Simple procrastination or Procrastination 101
This is the most basic of procrastination techniques. A person will replace the undesireable activity that should be accomplished with a leisure activity. TV, internet, video games and reading are among my favorites, but there are hundreds of other activities that could be acceptable within this category. Pure and simple, it's avoidance.
Advanced procrastination or Procrastination 201
To an advanced procrastinator, it isn't necessarily as simple as doing a project or putting it off. At times, there's the need to put off a project, but still feel productive. This is where my "slacking scale" (the name is still under development) comes into play. At the top of the scale is the project that needs to be accomplished. At the bottom of the scale are the elements covered in the simple procrastination section. In between are other projects that need to be done, but are of a smaller scale or a smaller annoyance. But when they're finished, they'll make a person feel as though they've been productive. Each person's scale will vary based on life interests and "to-do" list. But in my life right now, the scale would look something like this:
Josh's Slacking Scale
-Organize the office
-Fix or replace the ceiling fan in the entryway
-Clean out the remaining packed boxes in the mudroom
-Organize the kitchen
-Clean the bathrooms
-Weed the garden
-Move a houseplant into a bigger pot
-Research washers, dryers, furnaces, air conditioners
-Work on theatre board projects
-Write a blog entry
-Read a book
-Play video games
-Surf the internet
So, I need to organize the office. But I really don't have that much energy. So, I go down the list until I find something above the line that matches my energy level and tackle that project, thereby feeling somewhat productive. Then I can go below the line, and back to basic procrastination technique.
I think it works well, and I know that I've only scratched the surface. In time, I only hope that I can sufficiently procrastinate other things in order to make this system what it deserves to be.