Productivity Through Procrastination (Seriously)

Deadpool loves pancakes (and belongs to Marvel Comics.)

I’ve learned to appreciate procrastination as a useful force.  Procrastination, for me at least, becomes incredibly productive. Whether there’s a pancake or a crepe on my plate, I’m still eating that day, and that’s ok.

Pancakes are thick. Pancakes are a main event. You slather all this stuff on a pancake to enjoy the pancake. Pancake days are when you have extra energy — like thick ribbons of batter — devote yourself wholeheartedly to one thing, one project, one goal. When you’re focused, and you immerse yourself in what you’re trying to do, you’re guaranteed to get something out of it.

Crepes on the other hand spread thin. There’s not as much energy or motivation to work with, so it’s impossible to lay anything on thick. Crepes are usually a vehicle to deliver other things to your mouth anyway. There is no main project, but lots of other interesting things, like spinach & feta, or strawberries and chocolate syrup. Crepe days are when you devote a little bit of energy to a lot of different pursuits.

I had a crepe day this weekend. I had all kinds of writing projects I wanted to do, grown-up chores I needed to handle, phone calls I promised I’d make, and theater dates that I broke without so much as a lame excuse. I didn’t want to do a damned thing. I didn’t even want to catch up on Netflix. I was so deep into procrastinating that I couldn’t be bothered with the normal things I did to procrastinate. I ended up playing violin for hours. I haven’t touched that thing in years. As much as I wanted to get stuff done, and felt truly awful about not touching any of it, I can’t call it a wasted day.

In truth, there are no wasted days. Check in with yourself. If you feel like you’re spread TOO thin, pick a project and have a pancake day: immerse yourself in one pursuit. If you’re knee-deep and you want out, have a crepe day: reconnect with things you haven’t had a chance to enjoy. You’ll still eat that day, and that’s ok.

Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much, but because we’re taking on too little of what really strengthens us.”
― Marcus Buckingham

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
― Sun Tzu


14 thoughts on “Productivity Through Procrastination (Seriously)

  1. shoe1000

    I have a very dear friend, the Leprechaun, who taught me to honor my resistance. No matter what it is that i am resisting, there is a reason that I am doing it.
    It is not for me to always figure out why! Wait, I can never figure out why my mind works the way it does.
    Wonder full piece.

  2. Holistic Wayfarer

    You did well with the metaphors. You know, well over 90% of the response on the Finale came from men. Yeah, interesting, eh? You were the one female to take a REAL bite at it. Even more interesting! The comments have blown up, and some repeat visitors are only just warming up. I was so glad for your wisdom.


    I so needed to hear this today. I was beating myself up yesterday because I “didn’t get enough done” as I put it to myself. Now I see that I was having a crepe day. And not every day can be pancakes. This really put things in perspective for me!

      1. Bob Bonsall

        Plentiful pancakes are probably being prevented by procrastination. 🙂

        More likely though it’s been my focus on school and work, without setting time aside for the things that rejuvenate me. The little free time I have I waste on frivolities that drain me rather than replenishing me. I’m trying to get better about that, but they are an addiction, and about as healthy.

      2. Setsu Post author

        I’ve had to schedule writing time. So far that’s the only thing that keeps me on track, even if it’s only an hour a week.

      3. Bob Bonsall

        I should definitely do that. I find the time to dash off a blog post a few times a week, but often that’s not writing per se these days, it’s more “grind something out to get words on the page”. I have ideas for better work, but I don’t take the time (or make the time) for better. And I can do better, so I have to.

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