We’ve all experienced procrastination. It’s a common and relatable affliction that affects a large percentage of people, leaving them with lower salaries, poor work performance, and tons of stress. Putting things off until the last minute may seem like a funny personality trait, but it’s no joke.
BBC reports that there’s a theory out there meant to fix the schedules of those who struggle with procrastination. It centers around the belief that incorporating fun into your schedule can actually help you get things done.
Developed by psychologist Neil Fiore, “unscheduling” is an unorthodox approach that works in two parts. First, it aims to create a weekly schedule where you block out time for specific tasks. But the twist is that these tasks are meant to be fun, like going to dinner, watching TV, or even catching up on sleep. The second part of the method is doing actual work, which is understandably more complicated than the first part.
A lot of data suggests that when we’re busy, we tend to function properly, especially if we’re content with our relationships and day-to-day lives (translation: we’re not sidetracked by emotional distractions).
The BBC explains that this “unschedule” method is actually quite practical:
The ‘unschedule’ works because rather than peering tentatively at your diary and baulking at a sea of dull meetings, overwhelming life admin and intimidating tasks like “write a book”, instead you see a week that you can actually look forward to.
Instead of making time for fun, the unschedule method allows you to switch perspectives by making time for work. In order to get work done, the method requires you to tackle all tasks slowly, devoting a minimum of 15 minutes to it, because, according to Fiore, 15 minutes can be devoted to any task without causing stress or anxiety. With this perspective you’ll be focusing on getting started on a task versus finishing your entire project in one sitting.
Next time you have a daunting task ahead of you, take a deep breath and commit to it for 15 minutes. Then let it go and do something fun.