How to Procrastinate and Be Productive

To celebrate the release of Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strengthmy friend, Andi Cumbo-Floyd, invited me on her blog to write an article on self-care for writers. I was eager for the opportunity, especially since I loved Andi’s Love Letters to Writers and had previously featured her book on my blog.

I wanted to speak to writers, yet I wanted to speak more broadly to all of you dear readers. So whether you think of yourself as a writer or not, if you’ve ever had issues with procrastination, if you’ve ever wondered how to procrastinate and get things done at the same time, this article is for you–written in August during the wildfires and the B.C. state of emergency which ended the first week of September.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Procrastination, Avoidance, and Self-Care

Where I live in British Columbia, we’re in a state of emergency due to wildfires that continue to rage in this hot, dry summer. The fires aren’t anywhere near where we live, but they’ve turned the sky grey, and weather forecasters have added a new category to their reporting—not sunny or cloudy, but “smoke” has been the forecast for days.

That’s meant I’ve been staying indoors more than usual–to avoid breathing in the polluted air, which in my town was rated today as the equivalent of smoking 8.3 cigarettes. With such good reason to stay inside, I should have had plenty of time to write this article. In fact, I’ve been trying to write this piece for days. But instead of zeroing in on self-care for writers as I intended–as I promised—it seems I did everything else on my to-do list and then some.

A Pro at Procrastination

One day I used my writing time to draft a proposal for a new project. The next day and the next day, I kept reading and revising my proposal until I finally sent it off. Another day and days I worked on an author interview, an article for my own website, a guest post for a community blog. I finished reading two books. One day I even used my writing time to take in a movie with my husband who had a rare afternoon off.

Some of that I considered justifiable procrastination, for while I procrastinated on this article, I made good use of the time and completed some other projects that were due. The books I read were part of my self-care. And the movie, well that was self-care and couple-care as we’ve both been immersed in our separate projects and needed to take a break. At least that’s what I told myself.

As you can tell, when it comes to procrastination and finding ways to justify it, I’m a real pro.

The Perks of Procrastination

When procrastination means substituting one project for another, I find it a helpful strategy to get more done. Instead of spinning my wheels when I get stuck on a piece of writing, I can switch to something else and come back later. Working on something else in between allows me to be productive in one area even while I’m stuck in another. A change of pace gives me fresh perspective, fresh energy.

For more on the perks and limits of procrastination please see Procrastination, Avoidance, and Self-Care on

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2 thoughts on “How to Procrastinate and Be Productive

  1. April – so often procrastination is a guilt-inducing activity. Thanks for breaking that away!! (And for providing me something else to do instead of that project I need to do!)

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