Using Procrastination: A Time Management Tool During the Holidays

Let’s face it – most of us have a unique talent for procrastination! Instead of that difficult report, we work on email. Instead of having that difficult conversation, we call a friend. Instead of working on that status report, we do laundry or online shopping.

The holiday season brings a diversity of needs and a wide range of activities that draw our attention. One way to effectively manage time during this season is to embrace the idea of procrastination and use it to get more done in a focused way.

To use this approach, make two lists:

  • A list of projects that you know need to get done and that you are likely to procrastinate doing based on your own self-awareness of past habits (most of us know the kinds of projects we tend to put off!).
  • A list of activities that you generally use to procrastinate. For example, this could include seeing friends, doing laundry, online shopping, cooking, doing easy reports, cleaning out email.

Looking at this list may help you with time management during the holidays! For example, you can decide that IF you need to procrastinate while a major project bounces around the back of your head, you will do online shopping for specific holiday gifts (and then, you will further procrastinate by wrapping them!). If you are procrastinating on having a difficult conversation, you will contact a friend you wanted to see over the holidays and build in some time into that visit to get support that may help you proceed with the important talk. This approach allows you to achieve goals, even when procrastinating!

Of course, eventually, we need to get the tough report done and we need to have that difficult talk. Set non-negotiable deadlines for yourself, so your brain knows when it needs to shift into high gear to get the important work done. In the meantime, allow your procrastination to work to your advantage to see people, complete tasks and enjoy activities that are a natural part of the holidays!