I’m guilty of this myself: Structured procrastination. It’s not that I put off deadlines. And it’s not that I forgo work for activities not related to my job at work. But sometimes, especially immediately preceding crunch times, I find myself doing work for work’s sake. Make work, if you will. I’m working, but I’m not working.
Aaron Swartz recently wrote an interesting item about procrastination and its role in the workplace. Though aimed primarily at programmers, I found it resonating with me, as well.
We’ll happily do the work we’re putting off if there’s a more important task we can put off by doing it. It’s not anything intrinsic to the task, but the outside importance of the task that makes us procrastinate. But what possible reason could we have for putting off tasks that are important? For creative work, tasks that are externally motivated are done less creatively than those that are internally motivated.
What do you think? Is there something here? What role do you think procrastination plays in your work life? In your organization?