some surprising benefits of procrastinating (at last!)

Over at the Fast Track by QuickBase today, I take a look at several big work-related stories in the news right now: some surprising benefits of procrastinating (at last!), misconceptions about remote work, and more. You can read it here.

{ 48 comments… read them below }

  1. Kelly L.*

    I LOVE it when I’ve been procrastinating something and then things change and make it unnecessary anyway!

      1. SpaceySteph*

        I was clicking in to say the same. Not sure if that happens in everyone’s line of work, but I frequently say to myself “This is TOMORROW’s problem,” put it on my to-do list, and then go home for the day. Then the next day I’ll get to work and the problem has gone away.

    1. rozin*

      Seriously. Story of my work life right now. I’m practically being rewarded each time I push something to later because EVERY time they make a bazillion changes that would have made it be more work if I did it sooner.

    2. Happy Lurker*

      I love that too. I generally am a Pre-Crastinator, because I will forget if I don’t do something simple right away. But when I put it off and it becomes a non-issue then I do my happy dance.

    1. Nanc*

      I just snort laughed in the office! Note to self: compose witty reply to Bad Candidate’s awesome comment in future . . .

  2. Michelle*

    I clicked through the link “When remote work goes really, really wrong”. Loved that.

    I think I could work remotely 3, 4 days a week (just come in for the big staff meeting on Tuesdays and then once a month for the event meetings) but our IT director is anal about allowing remote access to our network. I think it would be a big benefit for our staff, especially those who come in when they are (or are getting ) sick and end up spreading it around.

    1. Bad Candidate*

      I worked remotely for almost two years, coming in for meetings once every month or two. Things were fine. I still didn’t like my job but I figured at least I got to work from home. Then they decided nope, not doing that any more, we need more team camaraderie. So before I’d work 8 hours a day and rarely talk to my coworkers and now I have to drive to an office to work 8 hours a day and rarely talk to my coworkers.

    2. BRR*

      I work remotely two days a week. I have a super long commute and I somedays I have to do it just to sit on my computer. My employer doesn’t like people to work from home more than two days which is odd because a lot of people’s jobs can clearly be done from home. Sigh, someday

    3. Cat steals keyboard*

      I loved that too. Especially the cat. My cat liked to ‘help’ me when I worked from home. If I was on a call he’d often claw my leg to make me play with him. I once spent the entirety of an important call to an international politician walking round the house with a catnip mouse on a string.

  3. LaSalleUGirl*

    I was kind of surprised by the inclusion of “Did you buy one or more Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving” in the pre-crastinator list. Many people do that because they need to spread their gift expenses out over a long period of time or because they need to put items on layaway.

    1. Kelly L.*

      True! I guess it applies though because the person can go and unwittingly buy the thing for themselves while you’ve got it stashed in your closet.

      1. driver*

        That’s why you establish a strict rule with people that
        a.) they put items they want for Christmas on a wishlist (Amazon is good for this)
        b.) they are not allowed to buy themselves anything off that wishlist starting October 15.

        b.) can be broken if and ONLY IF the person contacts you first to see if you’ve already bought the item. This runs the risk of spoiling a Christmas gift, but if you just GOTTA HAVE IT NOW or found a great bargain, you’ll take the risk.

    2. Lizabeth*

      My goal is to finish Christmas shopping by Labor Day. Whether I make it or not is entirely a different matter…

  4. Rincat*

    I loved the “telecommuting gone wrong” story about the cat on the keyboard! So hilarious.

    One of my coworkers was transferred to another department during a reorg, and this department has never allowed telecommuting before. She (and her team) have been telecommuting for a few years now, and while they are still allowed to do it per our VP’s decision, her manager is having a hard time accepting the reality that telecommuting works! I often send her articles like this so she can pass them on. He’s not a bad manager, just kind of old school, but I think he’s slowly coming around…

  5. Jammies*

    Survey: Everyone here who telecommutes – do you put on pants?

    I typically wear sweats, or one level up from pajamas. :)

    1. Justin*

      I used to TC and I’d wear workout type clothes. Comfy, easy, and I can go outside or to the store without being too weird.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      When I work from home because of bad weather, I wear sweats and a t-shirt, which is what I typically wear around the house on my days off. We use IM and email and IM calling–I never have to do video conferencing. If I’m WFH because I have an appointment, then I just wear jeans and a t-shirt (or sweater if it’s cold) so I can go out. Basically what I would wear to work.

      Thank goodness I don’t have a cat! ;)

    3. LA Gaucho*

      I work remotely from my peers…it’s still at an office, but I don’t really work here. I’m an “intern” for legal purposes.

      It is a struggle everyday to put on anything close to business pants, so I stick to jeans/cotton. No one sees me. Clothing resembling pants is just a formality.

      I get to telecommute too…on those days I stay in PJs until after breakfast then put on workout clothes 6-7 hours ahead of time or jeans. Heh.

    4. Red Reader*

      Mostly yoga pants and t-shirts. I throw on jeans if I’m leaving the house for lunch or whatnot, and I don’t change out of them when I get back for the afternoon, but I generally put on the yoga pants first thing in the morning.

    5. Danae*

      I actually wear whatever I’d wear to the office–jeans or shorts, depending on the season. Also, generally a throw blanket in the fall and winter. (I’ve worked in a lot of very informal offices. Being wrapped up in a blanket while working was par for the course at my last non-remote job, which was aggressively air-conditioned.)

    6. Aardvark*

      It depends on how motivated I feel when I wake up. If I’m focused and ready to go, I’ll wear yoga pants/athletic shorts depending on the season. If I need extra encouragement toward productivity, jeans or fancier leggings.

    7. LadyKelvin*

      I’m in my pajamas (which I do not sleep in, they’re more like post-shower, pre-bed clothes) or my workout clothes many hours early. I only put a bra on if I absolutely have to leave my house.

    8. The IT Manager*

      I live in the south. I wear athletic shorts and t-shirts with the sleeves cut off all summer long. In winter I wear jeans or athletic pants. Not dressy but I can wear it out of the house with no embarrassment.

      I don’t always wear “pants,” but I always change out of the clothes I slept in into something that could be worn in public.

    9. Jillociraptor*

      I had a colleague who referred to this as the “Work from Home Mullet”: profesh on the top, chill on the bottom. I was the master of the blouse + yoga pants look for video conference days!

    10. Saturnalia*

      When I work from home, which sadly is pretty rare due to my current boss’ preference, I feel OK not wearing pants… Unless I have a conference call. Even if no one can see me, I feel weird talking to coworkers without pants on!

      I’ve also found that I feel more serious and professional once I’m wearing pants. The so-called “grown up pants” can be sweats or yoga pants, but the psychological effects cannot be denied!

    11. Photoshop Til I Drop*

      No pants, on principle. Sometimes I stay in my robe all day, just to enjoy the fact that I can. I also occasionally eat ice cream for breakfast, then call my mother to tell her I did it.

      It’s possible that I have issues with authority.

    12. Honeybee*

      When I work remotely, I usually wear one level up from pajamas myself – sweats or yoga pants with a t-shirt.

    13. Chocolate Coffeepot*

      My company doesn’t allow telecommuting (sigh), but if I could, I’d either wear my really comfortable, holey jeans that are too far gone to take outside, or scrub pants. They are super comfy and typically have more pockets than sweats do.

  6. Justin*

    I’m a procrastinator exactly when the task involves some imagination or planning, my best ideas usually come to me as I’m working, so if I can’t start then I don’t. I’ll have a basic plan for my part of the project but I don’t go all out right away because it’s likely that my initial idea won’t be quite right or things will change so much that I’d have to redo things anyways. I was like that in school, I had classmates that would study and do outlines and draft essays waayyyy ahead of time and then not even do that well on the paper or test despite having done 10x as much work. I wouldn’t put it off until the last minute but I also didn’t see the point in doing lots of work far in advance.

  7. Anon today*

    It’s tough to make generalizations about remote work, as every employee and employer situation is different, but these were my personal experiences as a remote employee:
    – productivity decreases (no)
    – remote workers are out of regular contact with everyone else (yes and no)
    – communication suffers when people are remote (YES)
    – remote work means your business data is unsafe (maybe)
    – remote workers end up never disconnecting from work (somewhat)
    – they’re just streaming Netflix all day (no)

    The problem was that my company did not make engagement with remote workers a priority, and that’s where the problems crept in.

  8. Elizabeth West*

    I’m procrastinating right now on my next book (a sequel to Tunerville). But I have to think it through first. Then I have to outline. Then I can do stuff. Though I’ve already written a few bits and bobs as I thought of them. :)

    Sometimes if I’m stuck, it helps to force myself to sit down and squeeze it out. I know the first draft will suck; I just want to finish it. I think some people procrastinate on work tasks, etc. because they’re perfectionists and they think it has to wow on the first go-round. That’s not always true (depending on the task), so it helps to think “I’m just getting this done now and I can polish it up when I finish.” Then you give yourself mental room to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of the task instead of worrying about what it will look like.

  9. Bethlam*

    I just reaped some benefits of being a procrastinator. Have been putting off a couple of projects, and was informed 5 weeks ago that our facility was closing next summer. Now those projects don’t need done at all.

    On the other hand, I’d take back having to do the projects if it meant I’d still have my job, especially because I love my job, expected to retire from here, and am not looking forward to moving on.

  10. Honeybee*

    “If you’re the type of person who works more efficiently and can be more productive while under the pressure of the ticking clock, work with it. You’ll still get your work in on time and will be happier than if you’d spent the week mulling over how weak you are.” Procrastination can also cut out unnecessary work if things change between the time work is assigned and the time it’s due; can give your ideas time to percolate and improve; and can lead to higher quality, better thought out work.


    I’ve long since given up on berating myself for procrastinating. Now I just work with it. Makes me happier and I still get stuff done.

    But seriously, the “ideas time to percolate and improve” is a definite feature of procrastinating. I’ve gotten so many great last-minute ideas.

  11. Beer Thirty*

    I like to get my work done ahead of time so that I can do whatever I want once the work is done and have no deadlines to worry about. My strategy has always been to do my work, and then forget about it.

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