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10 Ways to Both Procrastinate and Accomplish Something at the Same Time

Updated on November 17, 2016
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Seafarer Mama/Karen is a journalist who loves to write reviews of places to visit, books for all ages, music albums, movies, and more.

A few of my favorite ways to procrastinate

A friendly spot by the sea
A friendly spot by the sea | Source
Playing with colorful autumn leaves
Playing with colorful autumn leaves | Source
Labyrinth at Boston College
Labyrinth at Boston College | Source
Fairy house by a tree on a pine grove path
Fairy house by a tree on a pine grove path | Source
Chalk art on our walking path
Chalk art on our walking path | Source
It's fun to find & identify animal tracks in the snow
It's fun to find & identify animal tracks in the snow | Source
"Sally the little snowgirl," built on a blustery day last winter
"Sally the little snowgirl," built on a blustery day last winter | Source
Re-enacting favorite stories with puppets is a favorite pastime of  my entire family.
Re-enacting favorite stories with puppets is a favorite pastime of my entire family. | Source

Doing the things we love while avoiding the things we don't has its rewards

The Magnetism of Creative Energy

It's amazing how much we can get done when we're procrastinating. When we attempt to throw our energy toward something we would rather not be doing, just to get it done, that energy seems to subconsciously search out new directions for expression. Our brain is working on a level that we are not consciously aware of and successfully finds a new channel more favorable than the one we are moving in at the time, like a magnet. An encounter with a source of frustration may be enough to push our energy toward something we have been wanting to do that brings us pleasure, but has been put off, and we suddenly find ourselves engaging in that activity, as if we have suddenly "woken up" from sleep. That sleep is the stupor of boredom. It is almost like the principle of finding things that have been misplaced when we are looking for something else. When we are doing something we would rather not, we suddenly find that we have the energy to engage in something we have been wanting to do for a while, and end up doing it.

I remember one April night soon after I moved to Massachusetts. I set aside an evening to fill out my tax return forms, which needed to be completed for two states because I spent half my year in New York and half in Massachusetts the year before. The whole project was a puzzle and it took a chunk of time to work it out. Suddenly, I hit a block to making the numbers fit together across state forms, so I pulled out my flute and practiced that for at least two hours. When I finally cleaned put my instrument away, I felt a renewed sense of vigor from the time I spent making music, and was able to add up all the appropriate numbers in a way that finally worked, When it was time to climb into bed that night, I slept well because I did something for myself, which contributed to my ability to complete a project that was as tedious as it was necessary. I accomplished more than I set out to, and that felt good.

Roll with the Energy Flow

Given the above example of how our creative energy takes over and commands us to give it the expression it craves, why not plan around that and use such a force for the benefit of your sense of productivity? Why not plan time to work on creative projects into each day? It may contribute to our accomplishing the less desirable tasks in less time than they would normally take because of the magnified energy produced by doing what you love.The list of suggestions below are meant to generate inspiration for you to make your own list. Perhaps trying them will help you think of more that are lurking in your own subconscious. The objective is to use your creative energy to generate the energy needed to do some of the necessary, less interesting, tasks in less time. Doing something you love during your lunch hour at work could help your productivity there. The whole endeavor could snowball into a new revolution of creating more time for yourself, perhaps a new sense of purpose, and that can only bring more happiness into your life and the world. Enjoy!

10 Ways to Become More Productive

1. Walk a labyrinth.

This can be done alone or with others, depending on your propensity toward sociability. I like to spend time doing both. My original introduction to walking labyrinths is with a group of poets who shared rough drafts of their work with each other over ice cream or tea afterward. Labyrinths have been traditionally used as a form of walking meditation, and so doing can only improve your energy flow and help. It is also a form of exercise, so those of you who like to practice a form of yoga may also enjoy walking a labyrinth.

2. Practice an Instrument.

Begin with 15 minutes a day, at first. If you have time to increase that time occasionally, go for it. But do not feel you need to keep increasing the time. The objective is to make the practice time manageable within a busy schedule, which most of us have. Work on something, but do not expect to perfect it. That may come only after a week or two of consistent practice.Do it for the pleasure you take in the activity. I usually keep my mandolin out to encourage me to play. That is the one instrument to do that with. This is not advisable to do with a flute. Because of this, I tend to practice mandolin more than flute, but I am happy that I have a chance to practice any instrument on a daily basis.

Pizza is our favorite food

Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza
Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza
A book full of pizza recipes to try and share. This is a favorite comfort food for everyone in our family.

3. Engage your hands in a form of stitchery.

Cross stitch, creating designs with yarn on plastic canvass, knitting, and crocheting are all included in this. There may be more that have escaped my memory at the moment. Not only are they creative and pleasurable activities, they are sociable endeavors. Historically, groups of ladies gathered for the purpose of stitching together, whether they worked on individual projects or a joint creation, such as a quilt. You can bring your project to a community service planning meeting to work on while you are listening, to the library to work on while your children play once their attention span has reached its limit, or to the living room of your friendly neighborhood cohousing Common House.

4. Make a pizza (or two).

Most people enjoy some type of pizza. There are both entrée pizzas and dessert pizzas to make It is also an economical endeavor, since the pieces not eaten directly after baking the pie can be frozen and eaten at a later date, such as for lunch one day the following week. It is a family-friendly endeavor that have various ways that each family member could contribute. You might as well make two, since most dough recipes usually rise to provide enough crust for two pizzas..

5. Bake a loaf of bread (or two).

This is related to pizza, but different because bread is usually used for eating with butter, dipping in olive oil and spices, dipping in soup, or making sandwiches. Sweet breads are often make for dessert. If you are involved in community activities that require planning meetings, bringing bread to snack on is very endearing to your fellow team members. Bread is also a hit at "potluck" meals,

6. Bake cookies or dip pretzels.

Bringing cookies or dipped pretzels to a gathering will also increase your popularity. People who bring cookies, or any other type of baked goods to meetings are very appreciated, and endearing. Not only are you doing something you enjoy for its own pleasure, you spread joy and comfort to others, so you are accomplishing two things with one task. If you have children, this task will double as quality time spent with them, too. During the holidays, you can give them as (inexpensive) gifts to neighbors, teachers, etc.

7. Walk a neighbor's dog.

If you love animals but do not have the lifestyle for owning a pet at the the present time in your life, walking a neighbor's dog accomplishes multiple goals.The first one is that you are giving yourself time to spend with an animal, to bond with that creature, and that has a number of benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure. It also gives you the opportunity to exercise without being consciously aware that you are exercising. Walking a dog can be fun if you work in a game of fetch with a ball or toy into the time you spend with your four-legged neighbor. You are doing a favor for a neighbor, and that neighbor may reciprocate by doing something vital for you in the future. If you have a child, walking the dog will give the child a chance to get to know what dogs are like, including how to treat them.

Gardening is a very constructive form of Procrastination

The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Berries Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply (Back-To-Basics)
The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Berries Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply (Back-To-Basics)
Grow your own fruits and berries no matter where in the world you live with this simple guide to their cultivation. The fruit you harvest will be the freshest you've ever tasted! At the back of the book are juicy recipes for you to use as you enjoy the fruits of your labors.

8. Read a magazine related to an interest

Reading about what you love to do puts you in a similar frame of mind as when you are actually doing the activity. You learn more information about a favorite subject, and perhaps gain inspiration for future projects. I love reading about stitching, music, sailing, and camping.

As an extension of this, you could read a book or magazine related to one of your passions to your child(ren). There are magazines and books with a wealth of information written specifically for children, and there are magazines about creative pastimes that children love to leaf through and look at, even if they are not written especially for them. Looking through them together could inspire plans for a new and exciting family project.

9. Grow fruits, berries, herbs, and vegetables.

Gardening can also be a very meditative activity, in addition to the labyrinth. It provides an opportunity for exercise, it is an outdoor activity, and the endeavor results in fresh food to eat that tastes better than anything you buy at the store (economical). Home grown food is downright delicious! Make sure you are wearing sun screen and a sun hat when you venture out into your garden sanctuary.

10. Play a game.

Gather friends or coworkers together for a quick game to take a break from the projects you are working on. If your work requires you to sit down for long periods of time, then Volleyball and Frisbee provide a great form of physical fun.

Play with your child(ren), and let your child(ren) lead the the play. There is no better way to renew one's energy than to just play. That is why there is such a widespread gamingmovementthat breeds a sense of community among the players: Magic (I want to learn this game!) and Dominion are two such games. Players sit across from one another at tables, and there are fun props involved. If you need to be more active, Volleyball and Frisbee are viable options. Some people also juggle, and therefore entertain while they engage in very physical play.

If we plan it, is it still procrastination?

If we schedule in fun, and give ourselves permission to do so, are we still procrastinating? That is a good question. While procrastinating, there is often a feel of guilt over being "naughty" that goes with it. So if we schedule in the pleasure and give us permission to enjoy it, this may negate the sense of "procrastination" that goes along with unplanned "pleasure." So, the answer to the original question may be both yes and no. If we engage in a scheduled pleasurable activity, guilt-free, we may have stopped work on something we are being paid to do, or something that needs to be done to keep order in our homes. But if it is a mindful process, we take control of something that is inevitable, and harness that propensity toward the wayward unexpressed creative energy that is part of all of us. We need that balance to be productive over the course of many years. If we make creative endeavors a habit, then the rest will get done. We will do so because we cannot stand the way things are without accomplishing the necessary task.

Repetitive tasks can be a form of meditation.

Some necessary tasks can be used as a form of meditation, and can be pleasurable. Washing dishes is one such task for me. If I have not found time to meditate at any other time of the day, I usually focus my mind on an aspect of the process and use it as a meditation. It relaxes my mind and I am more open to creative inspiration, and I have accomplished a necessary task at the same time. It cannot get any better than that! Making sure I engage in some type of meditation during the day is liberating and keeps me moving toward my goals and dreams, and keeps me producing these hubs.

There's no time like...

Do It Later! Calendar 2013: A Planner (Or Non-planner) for the Creative Procrastinator
Do It Later! Calendar 2013: A Planner (Or Non-planner) for the Creative Procrastinator
A unique appointment planner that gives you room to schedule in blocks of time for creative procrastination.

© 2010 Karen A Szklany


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