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12 Ways to Quickly Become Unproductive

12 Ways to Quickly Become Unproductive
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You probably already tried everything you can to become more productive. Some things worked and some did not. Now it is time to try to be completely unproductive. It’s much simpler than you think! What are the guaranteed 12 ways to quickly become unproductive?

1. Keep everything in your head

Your brain counts the tasks like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, lots. If you don’t store information outside of your head in any visual form, you will quickly get lost. I once talked to a highly stressed person who stated she had “a lot to do”. When we wrote down this “a lot”, it turned out that she could perform most of the tasks within one evening! It is a great surprise to many when they write down their tasks, events, meetings and thoughts on a sheet of paper.

2. Keep everything equally important

Avoiding prioritization is a great handy hint for being completely unproductive. With every phone call, email, talk, task within multiple projects, or meeting request, you simply task switch and completely lose focus because you can’t decide. When you are aware of your priorities you can immediately postpone some things for later. And you really should!

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3. Use distractions

Another great way to become unproductive is to open Twitter, a few Facebook and Google+ tabs, your email account, put your phone in front of you, use Outlook desktop alert – any blinking thing you can think of and any other way of distracting you that is possible. You need several minutes to focus completely on your task, get into the “flow” and be really efficient, and this way you will be distracted every few seconds and you will never reach that state.

4. Get rid of emotions

Fun and emotions are what keep you engaged in an activity much longer than you think. You have greater energy, passion, and think more creatively. If you get rid of emotions from your activities, you simply have a boring list of tasks to accomplish. Just look what fun can bring to your life:

5. Use only one brain hemisphere

There is some great art coming out of the Mercedes Benz “Left Brain – Right Brain” advertising campaign, which (according to researchers) isn’t completely relevant, but shows a great truth: if you don’t use colors, sounds and everything is flat and black and white, it’s like you are using only half of your brain. If you don’t want to be unproductive, turn on colors in your email inbox, calendar and task list. Make it fun!

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6. Never say “no”

This is great way to become unproductive when used together with previous hints. With every email and request coming from your boss, colleagues and family, you simply say “yes” and take it on. This way you never know your limits, your task list is ever growing, you become unreliable, and put yourself into a victim mindset. The most surprising moment for many people is when they say “no” and it doesn’t break the relationship (as it shouldn’t!), in many cases they also find they become perceived as more reliable. Assertiveness is hard, but it is key.

7. Focus on your weaknesses

You know what is different about the people that excel from the rest? The greatest people focus on their strengths and they build on top of them. That gives them energy to fight their weaknesses. You simply can’t do the opposite. Think about Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods – they would get better and better at things they were already great at! If you want to be unproductive, focus on your weaknesses all the time, it will drain all your energy, put you in a bad mood and take your eyes away from your vision for your life.

8. Do everything yourself

So, you are the smartest person on the whole planet and you shouldn’t delegate anything because you do things best. Another great way to be completely unproductive! You can be really effective in doing some things, but not all. When you do things alone, you are losing the spirit of teamwork, great ideas, and different perspectives.

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9. Make things complex

Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Another great way to become unproductive is to make things more and more complex. Then build complex processes around those complex activities. Then spend hours trying to explain all that to others and handle misunderstandings. Beauty lies in simplicity. Think for a moment about the “I have a dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was so simple and powerful that it touched people’s hearts and spurred thousands of them to act.

10. Get rid of vision

Living and working without any vision is a great way to be completely unproductive. Vision is a fuel for your mind and body. Martin Luther King’s speech mentioned above put so much passion in people that many of them were willing to die fighting for this vision. Vision brings order to your activities, refreshes your emotions, reminds you about the real goals. Without it you can be just one more effective task executor.

11. Stop doing retrospectives

Experience without reflection on that experience is just data. A great way to be unproductive is to make the same errors over and over again. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” And Bill Gates said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” The most effective people do not rely purely on luck or coincidence. Every day and every week they reflect on past experiences and take conscious decisions to get closer to reaching their goals.

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12. Try multitasking

The final and the quickest way to be unproductive is to try to do two things at the same time. Some people say, “Multitasking is a great way to screw up multiple things at the same time,” and it is very true. We need to multitask in the same way as our old CPUs used to do it – a single CPU with single core was able to run a multitasking operating system, which performed very smoothly by just switching the tasks in the right way.  

Become unproductive summary

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    Piotr Nabielec

    Author, CEO, Consultant

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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