Procrastination is intentional...Are we choosing to delay? Then we might be procrastinating.
Not on purpose? Then it's not procrastination.If the delay isn't our choice, then it's an issue of patience, not procrastination.
...and harmfulWhen we choose to do low-priority things instead of high-priority things, our life will be worse than it could have been.
Rare New Form of Procrastination Identified (joke title: this is a common form of procrastination) – "a delay of the day’s most important activities because your attention shifts to less important, but perhaps seemingly more urgent, tasks. You are trading your to-do list for emergencies."
If a delay is both
Not harmful? Then it's not procrastination.If we delay low-priority things so that we can do high-priority tasks, then we're not procrastinating – we're prioritizing. The ability to say “No” is good for productivity!
No, Thursday's out.
How about never – is never good for you?
In addition, it is sometimes wise to delay a high-priority task. For example, we should give ourselves time to research and talk about an important life decision. This isn't procrastination: this is patience.
When we procrastinate we do:
When we don't procrastinate, we do:
Urgent tasksBy waiting until things turn into emergencies, we spend our time "putting out fires."
Not-yet-urgent tasksBy doing things before they turn into emergencies, we control our own time.
Unimportant tasksProcrastinators don't spend all their time putting out fires – they also spend a lot of time trying to repair their mood.
Important tasksInstead of trying to repair their mood, non-procrastinators choose things that will make the future better.
Low-quality leisure timeWe do things that make us feel better immediately but make us feel worse later.
Quality leisure timeWe enjoy ourselves in ways that make our whole lives better.
Ignoring relationshipsIt hurts our relationships when we keep our friends waiting.
Second-hand Procrastination: How Your Procrastination May Harm Others – “In the name of "working better under pressure," too often social engagements are canceled, promises are broken, and favors called in to have others problem solve last-minute catastrophes (a jammed printer becomes a national emergency). ... Procrastination harms relationships at home and at work.”
Building relationshipsOur relationships are a priority.
Ignoring the big pictureWe regret all the things in life that we meant to do.
Building our lifeWe decide what matters most in our life... and make it happen, bit by bit.