Are You a Rocking Horse? The Productive Procrastination Dilemma

Are You a Rocking Horse? The Productive Procrastination Dilemma

This is a guest post from Lisa Crilley Mallis, a friend and fellow professional organizer.  Hope you enjoy her blog!


Are You a Rocking Horse?  The Productive Procrastination Dilemma


How often do you feel “busy, busy, busy” all day long, but no closer to accomplishing your goals?  You have 20 items on your to-do list, cross off 18, yet still feel behind.  You might be procrastinating!  (I know – seems a little unorthodox to equate doing a lot of tasks with procrastinating, but stay with me!)

Alfred Montapert said, “Don’t confuse motion with progress – a rocking horse keeps moving but doesn’t make progress.”

The web definition of procrastination is “the act of procrastinating; putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.”  I define procrastination as doing ANYTHING other than the activity you defined as you #1 activity!

Confusing motion with progress I call “productive procrastination”.   You will know you are suffering from this phenomena when you have a task list of 20 items, and you do anything BUT the #1 most important item on your list.  You fool yourself into thinking you are making progress towards your goals because you are busy – but you aren’t working on the items that will actually move your business forward!

Some common “productive procrastination” tasks

•Working on a project due next month, instead of the one due tomorrow

•Most paperwork (unless the deadline is NOW!)

•Most cleaning (unless the President of the US, Queen of England, or your mother-in-law is visiting in an hour)

•Surfing the internet for the “perfect image” for your blog post (just find one and use it!)



I am most certainly NOT advocating never cleaning, never doing paperwork, or never working on projects ahead of time!  My hope is to draw your attention to the fact that just because you are busy, doesn’t mean you are making progress!

Good news – if you suffer from “productive procrastination” there are some cures . . .

•Identify your #1 task each evening.  Write this task on a post-it note.  Put the post-it note over your task list (covering it up).  Complete this task first, then look at the other items on your list.

•Schedule one hour each day to do “productive procrastination” tasks.  Each time you find yourself slipping into your procrastination mode – remind yourself that you have scheduled time for these tasks and stay focused on your #1 priority.

•Set a timer for 5 minutes. Allow yourself to do anything you want until the timer goes off.  BUT, once the 5 minutes is up – work on your #1 priority until completion.

•Play your “I’m getting motivated to work” song.    Dance around the room, file papers, clean your desk, fold laundry, surf the internet, whatever.  But once the song ends – procrastination time is over – and back to work!

•Use a “work buddy”.  Set a deadline to complete your #1 priority and ask your accountability partner to check in with you at the appointed time.  If you haven’t finished your task by the agreed upon time, you owe an agreed upon penalty.


Do you find yourself practicing “productive procrastination”?  What strategies have you implemented to stay focused on your #1 priority?  I’d love to hear about your success and help you problem solve your challenges.  Please post below!


Lisa Crilley Mallis, lover of chocolate, the beach, and country music, and owner of SystemSavvy Consulting, LLC  is a time strategy visionary. She is a master at cutting to the heart of overwhelm to help you regain control of your schedule and experience life. Lisa assists professionals in the direct selling industry implement concrete techniques that can be applied immediately to their daily lives. Her enthusiasm for finding solutions is contagious, and her commitment to empowering you to find success is transformational.   You can connect with her on facebook at

2 Responses so far.

  1. Lisa Mallis says:

    Thanks so much Amy for the opportunity to share some strategies with your readers! I’m hopeful they find value in the techniques (they all come from personal experience!!) Yep – even time strategy visionaries such as myself occasionally slip into productive procrastination mode!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *