Did you know that procrastination is a valid, effective productivity tool?

I can tell this story now because it’s history. I had a client several years ago who would send an email outlining a task to be done. He would then send another email an hour or so later with updated requirements, changes, etc.

By day’s end, there’d be another email with more changes.

The next morning, there’d be a final email saying, “never mind, I’ve taken care of it.”.

Can you guess when I attacked the task? I was on a retainer, so it didn’t matter pay wise.

It this particular case, I knew the client well enough that I could tell which projects would follow this path. So, I’d likely not read any further emails until the next morning. If there was no stop-order, then I would read through the thread, and use the specifications to do the assigned task.

I’m told contractors try to do something similar for related reasons. It’s expensive, and more importantly, highly time-consuming,  to do a construction project according to client specs only to have a change order come in that requires undoing a lot of work and redoing it to the new specs. So, contractors try to schedule these kinds of projects as late in the process as possible balancing the likelihood of change orders and the necessary time needed to actually complete the task.

Procrastination becomes a time management tool when it eliminates repetition, the undoing of work in order to upgrade or otherwise makes it faster and easier to do the task. It’s not about waiting until the last minute, it’s the art of doing the work at the right time.

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