We all know that kid in school who waited until the last minute to write their report for school and still pulled out an A anyway. Why do some people excel when they procrastinate while others get burned?
We all really want to believe it's pure talent, but when you look closer at why procrastination works for some people, you start to understand that there are a number of principles that can be replicated. If you break down the technique, there are few key behaviors that might look like laziness, but instead contribute to the overall success of a project.
To procrastinate the right way, you need:
Very specific goals
- When you know what you're trying to accomplish, you take much of the guess work out of the equation. Instead of thinking, "I need to put some time into the Harrison project," say to yourself, "I need to create five wireframes, 40 sketches, and write a two-page report." By being specific you set a clear, obtainable goal.
Very specific time frames
- if you work backwards from an established endpoint, you know exactly how much time you'll need to put into a project. The more you know your craft, the easier it becomes to "wait til the last minute."
Visualization of a result
- When you know "how many, and in what time frame," all of your thinking time can now be applied to a positive end result. Visualizing success is a key ingredient to a great outcome— it's a rehearsal that keeps shaping the solution.
A good enough result
- Focus on a good result to get rid of risky ideas that may not produce *any* results. Remember that time limits how much needless, unfocused experimentation you can get away with.
When you put these principles together you end up with a replicable technique that creates results. At ZURB we call this **timeboxing.**