From Bad Behavior to Boss Babe: Intentional Procrastination

Confession: I wrote all of my college papers the night before they were due. Including my thesis.

I’d wait until 9:00pm to start working, to be exact. It was an all-night hustle and I’d bust out 10 to 15 page research papers, and still get A’s. Naturally, I didn’t see any reason to change my habit.

My chronic procrastination started to spill into everything, though. I’d add in more errands than I had time for, wait until the last minute to meet up with friends, mail presents the day before a special occasion, and pay my bills right before the deadline.

(Does any of this sound familiar?)

My thought process was: I don’t want to waste time.

Minus the disrespect of wasting everyone else’s time, I was doing one thing right!

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek, talks about the strategy of batching in regards to productivity and time management. He shares how when given 15 hours of time to complete a project, we tend to take 15 hours of time, or more, to do so. There’s no sense of urgency or reason to get the task finished sooner.

Tim is all about automation and outsourcing.

He recommends that we set strict deadlines to leverage our own sense of urgency, and encourage higher productivity (and more play time!) He also talks about putting “like” tasks together so that your brain can complete similar activities without having to “reset” each time.

For example, Tim found out the day before his thesis was due, which was 25% of his overall grade in the course, that the CEO of the company he was scheduled to interview, could no longer meet with him. With 24 hours before the deadline, he was SOL.

He anxiously told his professor his situation, and that he may need an extension. The professor replied, “I’m sure you’ll figure it out, Tim. Being an entrepreneur is all about being resourceful and flexible.”

The next day, he walked into class and handed in his completed paper, which ended up being his best work ever.

How did he complete the task so effectively? First of all, it was swim or sink. His grade depended on it. So, he went through his current network and asked himself who was accessible as a CEO. He’d done some project work previously and remembered he had a connection. He reached out and scheduled an interview for the next morning. Then he sat down and wrote like a badass fiend.

So what lessons can we learn as entrepreneurs regarding time management and productivity?

1)      Set clear, specific deadlines for tasks that are non-negotiable.

2)      Create a strong driver (reward or consequence) for completion.
Ex: Happy Hour with bae at 5pm, IF I get my newsletter out by 4:30pm; Yoga class at noon, IF I finish finding 7 images, write copy, and schedule my IG posts for the week by 11:30am; Make 10 sales calls by 9:30am OR potentially lose out on $10,000 in sales for the month

3) Batch like tasks together for completion. Spend 2 hours total writing content for 3 blog posts instead of spending 1 hour each for 3 days writing separate posts.

Now that I “get it”, I use Intentional Procrastination in my favor to free up time like a #bossbabe so I can do more yoga, plan fun travel, and support rockstar clients (like you) doing big things in the world!

So tell me, what’s your #1 strategy for being effective and leveraging yourself to get sh*t done?

Brenna Joelle xo