Ahh, procrastination, that magical phrase.
“I’ll get to it later.”
That lovely inaction, so very slothful. So convenient and ever effortless. Is it useful though? Here’s what I think.
1. Putting things off accomplishes nothing.
I’m not saying it’s always a bad idea to leave something for later follow-up, because there are circumstances that warrant this action (lack of information, too early for action).
More often than not though, procrastinating just because, is bad.
You are simply putting something off just because you feel like it, and that does nothing helpful. You end up reviewing the same task twice (or more!), it takes up more time and energy. So, don’t leave it on the pile unless there’s a good reason to.
2. Increasing to-do’s increases mental fatigue
Everyone has a finite amount of energy to deal with decisions every day, and staring at a pile of tasks that grows on a daily basis is just unpleasant. A sense of dread and discomfort develops after a while, and we get tired and irritated from just staring at that festering eyesore.
Everyone has their own style of work, but I am quite sure a neat and tidy workspace is always preferred to a whirlwind of undone tasks and reminders sprawled about.
An analogy here:
Think about how cleaning the house after six months’ of indolence is an exhausting chore, whereas things would be much easier if we did little cleaning jobs every couple of days. The “dust” that accumulates at work, is the amount of tasks that we let slide without action.
3. Mental fatigue reduces your ability to get things done.
Increased mental fatigue results in a loss of the momentum that’s required to dive in and clear things up. Simply put, we get brain dead, and get less done. Sounds bad, doesn’t it?
This, is essentially why I call procrastination a productivity vampire. It makes us unproductive, simply because we refuse to work on tasks immediately. Our energy is sapped by just putting things off, we look at the task (soon to be tasks) again and again, mutating into a source of extreme annoyance. In the end, we have to spend massive amounts of time and energy clearing everything at once.
Granted there is a great sense of satisfaction after that Herculean chore, but I would preach daily maintenance over massive “repair” jobs that rob us of our much-needed time and energy.
If what I just described sounds suspiciously like your routine, it might be time for a change.
Keep your tasks from growing into a mountain, apply discipline in pruning the stack. Be decisive in what you want to do, either complete the task right up or mark it for follow-up at a later date if something else is required for completion.