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5 Productivity Hacks For 12 Different Types Of Procrastinators

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5 Productivity Hacks For 12 Different Types Of Procrastinators

It’s much easier to postpone a task until the very last minute than it is to work up enough willpower to decide to just do it now. And the more you procrastinate, the more it grows into a bad habit that just gets harder and harder to break.

A little procrastination here and there is fine, but when it starts to really impact the quality of your life, that’s when you know it’s time to make some changes. If you fall under any one (or several) of the following 12 types of procrastinators, you should have a look at some of the suggested tips and tricks you can use to stop putting things off all the time and start making it easier for yourself to decide to tackle them before it’s too late.

The Cleaner

The cleaner is the type of procrastinator who would rather distract himself with chores and housework than do what he really should be doing. If you find yourself washing the dishes, vacuuming every room, doing laundry, or even organizing your closet — you’re a cleaner. Having a clean house or apartment is great, but if you use it to distract yourself for too long, you could lose track of your schedule and put yourself in a risky position for trying to work with a very limited amount of time to get those important things done.

1. Don’t try to work in a messy room. If you can’t see it, it won’t tempt you as much. And you’ll be less likely to get distracted by that pile of clothes on the floor or that stack of papers sitting next to you. Out of sight, out of mind!

2. Go to a coffee shop or your local library. If your place is just a disaster, then consider leaving to get your work done. Coffee shops, internet cafes, college campuses, and libraries often have dedicated workspaces with wifi you can use as well.

3. Plan ahead to get your chores done beforehand. Sometimes all you need to do to make sure you won’t go on a cleaning binge when you should be working is to get it done way ahead of time. Put it in your schedule to make sure it happens.

4. Maintain good organization habits. You can prevent messiness by simply keeping up good cleaning and organizational habits. Clean that dish right away to avoid having them pile up, and put clothing away after you’ve washed them rather than leaving them in a mound on the floor.

5. Get your roommates/family members to pitch in with cleaning, or hire help. It’s hard when you live with people who don’t exactly maintain the cleanest habits. Either make it clear to them that they need to start helping out now, or consider hiring a housekeeper.

The Panicker

Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and panicky? These types of procrastinators get all caught up in their thoughts, focusing too much on all the details and the bigger picture. They usually end up paralyzing themselves from taking action and inducing unnecessary emotional stress.

1. Make a list of only the immediate things that must get done. To avoid overwhelming yourself, forget about all the stuff that can wait until tomorrow, next week, or next month. Just write down 3-5 things that must get done today.

2. Break down big goals into small tasks. Write down all the clear steps it will take for you to complete a bigger project to avoid getting too caught up in all the ideas and intentions whizzing around in your head.

3. Focus on completing one task at a time. Avoid multitasking on big tasks that consist of several smaller ones. Work on sticking to one at a time, and don’t move on until you’re done.

4. Take a few deep breaths. If you really start to feel the effects of panic and anxiety in your chest and you can’t get your mind clear, step away from your work station for a minute and take several calming deep breaths. Breathe in for four seconds, hold it for one second, and breathe out for six seconds.

5. Go for a walk. Nothing helps clear your mind of worry and dread better than a quick stroll around the neighborhood. If you can get out into a wooded area, that’s even better.

The Napper

Passing out for a bit rather than facing your responsibilities can often seem like a good idea, especially if you’re not feeling very alert and manage to convince yourself that you need a quick power nap to recharge. And it can work, but only if it doesn’t turn into a three-hour snooze session that makes you groggy afterward.

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1. Ensure you’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night. If you feel like you need to nap during the day, you may need to fix your sleep schedule.

2. Avoid consuming too much caffeine or sugar, which can lead to crashes later on. Improve your nutrition so that you don’t experience huge energy swings throughout the day.

3. Drink more water. Most people don’t realize dehydration can cause lethargy, so crank up your water intake to see if it makes a difference.

4. Exercise. Regular body movement helps keep your brain healthy. Even just a short walk can make a difference in how alert and focused you’ll feel.

5. Set a timer for 20 minutes if you need to nap. If you absolutely have to nap, don’t do it without setting a timer first to avoid drifting off into a deeper state of sleep for too long.

The Sidetracker

The sidetracker is someone who just can’t stay focused on one thing for very long, and has about a million ideas he wants to explore. Jumping from one thing to the next, to the next, to another after that, sidetrackers have a hard time getting anything done because they limit their progress by spreading themselves too thin.

1. Rank your priorities. Get clear about which tasks need to be completed first by jotting them down and ranking them from most important to least important.

2. Work to complete the tasks at the top of your priority list. Use your list to identify what must get done first, so you get those important tasks done first before giving your attention to anything else.

3. Eliminate distractions. Get rid of books, papers, objects, open tabs in your web browser, or anything else that tempts you to shift your attention to anything that’s not at the top of your priority list.

4. Avoid multitasking. Many people think they can kill two birds with one stone by multitasking, but all it does is slow you down and decrease the quality of your work. Stick to one thing at a time.

5. Keep a notebook handy for ideas that come up. If something new pops up in your head while you’re focusing on your most important priorities, write it down quick in a notebook so you remember it at a later time.

The Internet Researcher

No matter how much time you spend researching, there’s never enough time to cover it all. People who spend too much time looking for answers online end up creating an imbalance between preparation and action. They want to learn everything before they actually start moving forward.

1. Build a list of the most essential questions you need answered. To avoid getting sucked deeper and deeper into the topics you’re researching, stick to the most pressing questions you have and focus on answering those only.

2. For big projects with lots of questions, aim to research the answers to just 4-5 questions every day. You may have 100 or more questions or topics you need to research. That’s okay — just spread it out over time so you actually have time to take some action too.

2. Set a time limit for research. Don’t lose yourself in six hours of online research. Limit it to a half hour or so before moving on to apply what you’ve just learned.

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3. Stick to a limited number of sources. You don’t need answers from 23 different sources for one question. Three, at most, is best for questions or topics that aren’t so complex or controversial.

5. Switch your internet off if you can’t resist doing extra research. For anyone who has ever struggled to resist Googling something new every five minutes, sometimes pulling the plug is the only real option.

The Snacker

Snacking doesn’t just inhibit your productivity — it’s bad for your waistline too. People who regularly find themselves reaching for boxes of crackers, cookies, chips, or anything else end up distracted from doing what’s most important, and sometimes even end up needing to nap after eating too much.

1. Get rid of all unhealthy snack-like foods. If it’s not there, you can’t be tempted by it. Throw out anything that comes in a box or a package, and commit to not buying them again.

2. Don’t work in or around your kitchen. Your environment affects your tendency to become distracted. If the sight of your refrigerator steals your focus, it’s time to move to another room.

3. Sip on water or herbal tea. Fluids can make you feel full and give your mouth something to do if you’re battling cravings. Lots of water and tea will also keep you nice and hydrated.

4. Plan your meals and snacks for the day. Be conscious of what you’re eating by planning out your meals, including what time you’re going to eat. That way, you can look forward to them rather than sabotaging yourself with excess snacking.

5. Keep healthy snacks like fresh veggies and fruit handy if necessary. If you absolutely have to gnash on something, make sure it’s healthy and limited in quantity. Try celery sticks with peanut butter, an apple, or a handful of raw almonds.

The Watcher

Television, movie, and internet video consumption is drawing a lot of people away from their real lives these days. In worst case scenarios, having instant access to so much selection can cause them to completely lose sight of reality — including all their responsibilities and everything that’s truly important to them.

1. Limit TV/video consumption to one hour (or less) a day. Make a conscious decision to watch no more than an hour of your favorite show or movie to avoid going overboard.

2. Limit the number of TV shows, movies, or web series you watch. Getting invested in too many shows on TV or the internet means you have to keep up with their new episodes every week. Stick to one or two shows at most.

3. Schedule the time to indulge, ideally at the end of the day. Use your TV or internet video time as a reward at the end of the day for all the hard work you put into that project you should be working on.

4. Resist getting hooked on any new series. New shows pop up all the time, and before you know it, you’re watching 14 of them. Don’t fall for any new shows if what you really need to do is get more work done.

5. Consider cutting your cable or cancelling your streaming subscription. If limiting your time spent watching TV just doesn’t work, you may just have to consider quitting cold turkey. Cancel your plan, and you’ll have no excuses.

The Delegator

Everyone needs help and support from time to time, but it has to be done right to be effective. Certain people who’d rather bully people into completing tasks for them often end up right back where they started — or even a step or two behind if the person they delegated to did a bad job.

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1. Ask first, and be respectful of people’s time and value. Don’t just tell other people what they need to do and expect them to do it. Treat them like real human beings who deserve real respect.

2. Don’t use power of authority to force people to do things. Bosses often use intimidating tactics to force their subordinates into doing things for them. Again, treat them like they deserve to be treated if you want to maximize results and earn respect back from them as well.

3. Avoid pushing tasks onto other people out of selfishness. Be honest with yourself. Are you making someone do something because you just don’t feel like it? Take responsibility for the things that can or must get done by you.

4. Maintain open and frequent communication. Don’t expect people to be able to read your mind. Communicate exactly what you need from them, and encourage them to regularly communicate with you on the status of their progress or any issues they may be facing.

5. Show that you trust others, and that you’re grateful for their help. Don’t delegate a task to someone without having any faith in their abilities. Put your full trust in their hands, and be sure to thank them for their efforts.

The Gamer

The Gamer shares a lot of similarities with the Watcher — they’re a sucker for entertainment and easily get hooked for hours. With video games, however, it can be far more addicting to try to level up, enter another world, kill the bad guy, find the sword, or spend forever trying to do whatever it is that games make you do to keep you playing.

1. Limit your playing time. If you you have enough self-control, you can use a timer to set a time limit of an hour or so.

2. Commit to saving video games for weekends. You know you really shouldn’t be playing games for extended periods every single day, so try scaling it way back to once a week when you’ve got some downtime.

3. Shut the game down or leave the room. If you use a computer to work, make sure any games you play on it are closed. If you play games on a TV, leave the room or get out of the house.

4. Play physical sports instead. If you’re competitive and love a good challenge, why not take up a team sport that helps your fitness rather than support your couch potato lifestyle?

5. Disconnect or uninstall your games. Can’t resist the temptation? Make it harder for yourself to keep playing by haulting your progress all together.

The Social Sharer

Social media can be just as addicting as TV and video games. The more people share, the more pleasure they get out of the likes and comments they receive. Over-sharing and interacting with friends online can quickly turn into a bad habit that takes up hours of a person’s day.

1. Put your phone away and close those tabs on your computer. If your phone is flashing with notifications right beside you or Facebook is left open in your browser while you try to work, you’re basically asking for distraction to happen.

2. Sign out, uninstall apps, or take links out of your bookmarks. Chances are you’ve made it easy to access a social network with a click or your mouse or tap of your finger. Make it harder by nixing those shortcuts so you’re less tempted.

3. Purge your friend/following list. Do you really need 543 Facebook friends and can you really follow 3,294 Twitter accounts? Do a cleanup to avoid being tempted by excess accounts that don’t even really matter to you.

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4. Delete unnecessary accounts. Nobody really needs to be on 14 different social networks. Stick to one or two that you really like to avoid wasting time checking all of them.

5. Temporarily deactivate the most tempting accounts. Some social networks like Facebook allow you to deactivate your account and reactivate it later. Consider this option if you seriously can’t resist social sharing.

The List Maker

Everyone always talks about how great it is to make a list if you want to be productive, but too many people do it the wrong way. The people who try too hard to stick to an unrealistically large list often end up feeling rushed through everything or defeated at the end of the day.

1. Build your list items according to your time schedule. Rather than just listing off all sorts of things, build them into the hours you have in your morning, afternoon, evening, and night.

2. List appointments and meetings first. For things where other people are counting on you to show up, list them first to give yourself a better idea of how much time you’ll have to dedicate to other projects after that.

3. Only list the things that must get done today. You can avoid overwhelming yourself with too many list items by sticking to maybe 3-5 things that absolutely must get done right now, today, and as soon as possible.

4. Estimate time limits for each list task. Remember to use your time schedule to help you build realistic timeframes for your tasks that you can actually get done by the end of the day.

5. Edit and add to your list throughout the day. If you finish everything early, or if something pops up that needs your immediate attention, don’t be afraid to adjust your list accordingly. It’s not set in stone.

The Perpetuator

Some procrastinators just never learn, and when this is the case, they become Perpetuators. These types of people always try to justify whey the can’t get started on something or didn’t get started already. They dig themselves into a big hole by flat out lying to themselves.

1. Stop waiting for the perfect moment to start. Waiting for that big motivational kick only wastes more time, and it usually never arrives. Become conscious of the fact that perfect moments to start working on something just don’t exist.

2. Aim to start something and stick with it for at least 20 minutes. Just getting started is all you need to get motivated. You’ll probably find that after 20 minutes, you’ll have developed some good momentum.

3. Use alarms to start working and taking breaks. To avoid perpetually putting things off, set alarm reminders throughout the day and commit to starting your work as soon as they go off. You can use them to schedule your breaks too.

4. Promise to reward yourself after you’ve completed something. You can use rewards like TV time, a bubble bath, a social outing, or a snack as a way to motivate yourself to get something done.

5. Commit to focusing more on the present moment. Rather than beating yourself up for not getting started sooner or promising to start it the next day, focus on what matters right now, and what you can do about it to make some progress.

With 60 tips in total for 12 different types of procrastinators built into this super long and detailed list, you now have no excuses to finally get started right away on that thing you’ve been putting off for so long already.

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Featured photo credit: Young Woman Working / Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Elise Moreau

Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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Reference

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