Procrastination as a tool for Productivity

There’s a thousand small things that I need to get done during the week. They’re only mildly the same week-to-week, and they all individually don’t take up much time at all, but together they eat far more of my productivity than they deserve. I’d found that I was spending far too much time context-switching between my real work – programming – and these other smaller tasks. Programming is the sort of job that doesn’t work well with small distractions, and these small tasks were eating far more of my time than they deserved. Something needed to change.

So a few months ago I started an experiment – instead of doing these little things as they came up during the week, I would procrastinate- er, schedule- all of that time for a single day: Tuesday.

It’s a simple change – an obvious one in hindsight – Instead of replying to emails immediately or scheduling calls for that afternoon, I decided to completely ignore them until just 1 day a week. If I needed to meet with someone, “how’s next Tuesday work for you?” If I needed to write a new blog post – Tuesday’s the day. Replying to emails? Tuesday. Generi-task that’s not crucial to building great products? Tuesday.

It’s a simple change, but it’s let me push all of my context-switching tasks into just 1 time block, which has freed up the rest of my week for dramatically fewer distractions as I program. I’ve dubbed Tuesday as my “fake productivity” day – it’s for all the things that I genuinely do need to do, but at the same time don’t help me build better software. My “real productivity” – building stuff – has been much more efficient now that I’ve moved most of my distractions out of the way.

It’s a habit I highly recommend.