As a frustrated GTD devote and procrastinator, I absolutely love this essay and think about it a lot:
All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it. However, the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.
Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact…
Case in point? This very blog entry. I have three more days of work before I’m off for 2 weeks of Staycation and I have 2 finals and a Capstone presentation all due by Saturday. So I’m finally installing that dimmer switch in my dining room, figuring out the intricacies of my sprinkler system, putting the final Christmas decorations in the attic, installing the front license plate on my new Miata, taking my Pathfinder for an oil change, and blogging a lot of things that have been on my “To blog” list for months, and in this case, even years. The beauty of all of this is that I don’t feel bad because that’s just how my brain works – I needed to do those things anyway and I know I’ll do the things at the top of the list once they become #2. It’s a neat Jedi mind trick!