How to Procrastinate Successfully

successful procrastinationProcrastinating is irrationally delaying something you ought or think we want to do, so I’ve coined the word “usurponating” for everything we actually do while procrastinating.

Seeing as I made up the word, I can define what it covers.

Usurponating” –This is the activity or activities you do while you are procrastinating.

It’s what you do instead of what you ought or want to be doing.

There are 3 basic ways to usurponate:

  • Do something useful instead of doing whatever it is you are procrastinating over.
  • Self-sabotage with self-criticism and negative self-talk, over-eat or drink, or simply waste the little time one has on this earth.
  • Undermine or interfere with others as a way of rebelling or of deflecting responsibility.

Only the first is intrinsically helpful.

Given that procrastinating is already self-defeating, there’s no need to double-down on it. I want you to get some real value out of your procrastination, so let’s look at how one might cultivate useful usurponation (and yet still get to procrastinate!)

If you’re stalling until the last minute to do something, you may as well not pretend to be doing it. Distract yourself completely and with purpose!

Here are some ideas for some productive or meaningful usurponation that won’t interfere with your procrastination. There’s something magical in the number 9, so let’s call it the 9-fold path to satisfying procrastination:

  1. Daydream.  Spend time creating a wonderful and different reality that suits you better than this one. You can even go all out and build a vision-board. For this to be good usurponation, make sure it is a positive vision – something that makes you smile, lifts your heart, or gets you excited about who you are and what life is all about.   

This is invoking the quality of Intuition and serves to reaffirm your individuality.

  1. Do important stuff.  Fill your day with as many productive activities as you can – anything and everything that is “necessary” or significant. As long as what you are doing makes you feel valuable or produces some worthy results, your usurponation is commendable.

This invokes the quality of Faith – faith in your value to the world. 

  1. Organize other things. When you sort out drawers, fold laundry, clean out your inbox, or shuffle papers on your desk, you are creating a better environment for yourself or those around you. This kind of usurponation has merit. It is justified because it’s probably only during procrastination times that some of these things get done.

Here you are invoking the quality of Endurance – dutiful and disciplined.

  1. Take care of you. Do something good for you – go for a walk, ride your bike, make a home cooked meal, have a massage, listen to good music that fills your soul and lightens your mood. As long as it is healthy and/or beneficial, you are able to award yourself positive usurponation points.

Being good to yourself invokes the quality of Honor –
love yourself and you are free to give love.  

  1. Re-invent. Use your procrastination time to take a step (or leap forward) toward anything that you want. Create something new. Transform what is and make it better. Paint the front door a color you like, Feng Shui your home or office, plan a surprise for someone, make or create something. To count as “good” usurponation, it must be something you do yourself.

Invoking your Ingenuity affirms your self-reliance.

  1. Walk away. Remove yourself from or change something you don’t like. In contrast to stepping up, this form of usurponation must involve action you take to eliminate or avoid something you dislike or that is negative or harmful in some way. Throw out the clothes you like but don’t wear, unsubscribe from the emails that clutter your inbox, get rid of the topless and bottomless tupperwares.

Take a stand on behalf of yourself or others and you invoke the quality of Courage.

  1. Feed your mind. Watch a thought-provoking movie, read a bunch of interesting articles, take an online quiz about something you are interested in. You might even write a “How To” article. To count as worthy usurponation, the activity needs to really engage you, bring or share valuable knowledge or be of real interest to you.

Invoking Consciousness and growing your understanding of the world
makes you more competent.  

  1. Meditate. Genuine meditation or nature contemplation count as valuable usurponation if they truly quiet your mind. The characteristic that makes this usurpation good is that it leaves your spirit light. This is not the same as “veging out” or wallowing in denial, which usually leaves one feeling heavy and lethargic.

This invokes the quality of Enchantment, calming you and bringing harmony.

  1. Step up. Explore something new. Give yourself permission to not succeed and try it anyway. Take a bold step toward fulfilling a desire or dream. Get out of your comfort zone and do something expansive, out of character or just plain exciting! Call a guru up, commit to a half-marathon, find a piano teacher and book a series of lessons. This kind of usurponation is powerful if it gives you a sense of busting out of where you’re at.

Stepping up invokes the quality of Optimism, a can do attitude that includes no judgment.

To find out more about the Qualities and how they aid you in all areas of life, check out my book: “Your Success Genie” HERE.

May the procrastinator in you celebrate this newfound soul food and turn your procrastination into something wonderfully productive and meaningful!


Author: Sue Hines
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

  1. maxwell iveymaxwell ivey03-02-2015

    hi sue; this post is so much more than its title lead me to believe. but knowing you i knew i should check it out. love what you had to say about positive actions you can take while procrastinating. i love how all your suggestions are stated in a positive manner. we need more posts like this one. its a very loving approach. take care, max
    maxwell ivey recently posted…Start2star challenge improving my videos and myself part 1My Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines03-02-2015

      Hi Max, thanks for the great comment! I value your support.

  2. I love this post so much! I’m a diehard procrastinator, and I like to think I’m really proficient at it. But you’ve taken it to a whole new level by creating a useful word and productive things to do. I’m jumping in with both feet to this usurponating concept!

    • Sue HinesSue Hines02-26-2015

      Loevely comment, Meredith. Thank you. I hope that using the concept of usurponation you are able to take the sting out of your procrastination!

  3. I love your new term. The thing is most of us feel so guilty about procrastinating we do self-destructive things like overeating (I just raised my hand!). But I like your idea of getting over it and doing something you like that is also productive. It just won’t be the thing you’re procrastinating about.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Social Media as a Tool for Character AssassinationMy Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines02-18-2015

      Guilt – that oh so powerful feeling1 Yes, Usurponation is useful for getting the guilt level down! Thanks, Jeannette

  4. IkechiIkechi02-18-2015

    Hi Sue

    Love the term usurponation. I never considered the activities that I do when I am in the zone of procrastination.

    I do love the activities you listed during usurponation especially daydreaming and meditation. This could be productive.

    Thanks for sharing
    Ikechi recently posted…A Young Girl’s Little Cabbage Seedling Makes The Difference in a CommunityMy Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines02-18-2015

      Thanks for the comment, Ikechi. I gave a talk on this recently and a few people came up to me afterwards and showed me lists they had made of things they could constructively Usurponate with. Hope this article inspires positive action!

  5. Susan CooperSusan Cooper02-17-2015

    Aw, procrastination is my best feature… LOL. All kidding aside, I do try to use my time wisely. That excludes meditation and scheduled down time. Sometime putting something off to give some space to thinks help find the right direction or a clear answers to an indecision. Just my thoughts. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Tears Fall Freely: #PoemMy Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines02-17-2015

      Good point. Putting things off with a purpose is a great way to get around the negative connotations associated with procrastination – but I wonder if that always falls under the same category. Delay and postponing don’t have the same self-defeating gravitas of the act of procrastination. Perhaps if one can legitimately postpone to allow time for the subconscious to reorganize thoughts, it is not true procrastination. What do you think?

  6. Jacqueline GumJacqueline Gum02-17-2015

    I love this! What a positive spin on procrastination. I read, take a walk, often daydream and I play a few brain games on Lumosity of Fit Brains!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Approval… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines02-17-2015

      What a great idea! Lumosity improves your mind and helps you feel good about yourself to balance the self-defeating procrastination.

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