Procrastination is like Cholesterol

Posted By on Apr 20, 2010

The Boston Red Sox celebrating their clinching...

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It’s already 11 AM, and you’re staring into the monitor with your eyes glazed over. There are still 21 messages in your inbox, and none of them are compelling. So instead, you decide to read a little bit of news and catch up on how the Red Sox did last night.

Next thing you know, it’s lunchtime, and there are still 21 unread messages in your inbox.

We’ve all been there, and that’s part of why we included a special structured procrastination tool in Boomerang.

Good procrastination vs Bad procrastination

Procrastination is like cholesterol – there’s a good kind, and a bad kind.

The real problem isn’t that we can’t face dealing with any of these messages. It’s that the number of them is overwhelming, especially since many of them require at least a couple minutes worth of yak shaving to get them finished.

At this point, we can either fall into the trap of “bad procrastination” and go check out some links on the web, or we can use “good procrastination” to help us get rid of some of the less-important or more annoying email messages for a while, so we can focus on the more valuable and easier messages first. 

Here’s how Boomerang can help

Just right-click the one of the low-priority emails that you want to deal with later, hover over the Boomerang menu, and choose to bring the message back at a random time.

Use Boomerang to bring the message back before 5pm today, within a week, or sometime in the next month. Boomerang will return the message to your inbox, unread and flagged, for you to work on some undetermined but bounded time later. That way, instead of dealing with 21 messages all at once, you can take care of each one individually.

Of course, the messages are still accessible, right there in the Boomerang folder. So if you find yourself a few extra minutes, you can work on them right away.

It’s all about willpower

Scientists have discovered that the root cause of procrastination is often that people have only a limited amount of willpower. Clearing out some of the messages that you don’t want to deal with right away can make it easier to get your to-do list under the threshold of how much willpower you have right now.

You can deal with the other messages later, after your willpower has had time to build back up. Try using Boomerang for structured procrastination today (it’s free to try), and discover a better way to procrastinate.

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