The Procrastination Flowchart : A Cautionary Tale for Attorneys Who Want to Maximize Billable Time

Procrastination FlowchartVia the embarrassing-to-mention-on-a-legal-blog site Chart Porn, I stumbled onto Ehdom’s Procrastination Flowchart. I thought it was pretty cool, and apparently so did a bunch of other people. We sent out a tweet about it via our @rocketmatter account, and a slew of people retweeted it.

Certainly the chart rings disturbingly true, even for the most disciplined among us. And the web, with its treasure trove of information and social networking, is a pretty enticing procrastination device. For me, it’s powerful enough to suck me away from one of my favorite hobbies, reading, as a I discovered when attempting to indulge in a novel on an iPad.

Some of the flows in the chart are priceless:

Is the deadline within an hour?->No->Enter Procrastination Loop->Are you hungry->?

In September, I authored an article in the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine on dealing with procrastination. I discovered that psychologists actually study it and theorize that it’s a coping mechanism for stress.

In terms of dealing with procrastination, using timers, eliminating distractions, and routines are your weapons. The Pomodoro Technique, which we write about ad nauseum in this blog as well as in our Legal Productivity e-book and our online CLE, forces even those of us with diminished concentration abilities to dive into activities in 25-minute, uninterruptible chunks.

Time Blocking, which a number of our guest productivity speakers on our webinar series advocate, is a way for people to block off specific time for specific activities. In general, the more planning and structure you can enforce on your day leads to more productivity. This is one of the reasons why, when you have more on your plate, you tend to have better concentration and pound out more work. Conversely, when you have little to do, structure falls apart and so does concentration and discipline.