Advertising
Advertising

Middle Finger to Productivity—Here’s How to Procrastinate Like a Boss

Middle Finger to Productivity—Here’s How to Procrastinate Like a Boss

So I’m sitting here, working (actually trying to work) and thinking about this whole productivity thing. I mean, I know that being productive throughout the day is a very nice concept. One that can bring your business/hobby/any other activity to the next level. However, aren’t we just too productivity-focused in the 21st century? Before the year 1600, the word “productive” didn’t even exist, yet people were still able to function perfectly fine on a daily basis. How come?

Why we procrastinate

Obviously, I am not a madman and I won’t say that productivity is a bad thing. In fact, I wrote a number of articles focusing on different aspects of productivity, and I do consider it one of the main things to master in our lives. Personally, I’m a freelance writer, so if it wasn’t for productivity and work organization I wouldn’t be able to make a living and get paid to write, but I also think that treating productivity like this unattainable goal is only going to bring bad results. Most people struggle to be productive just because they don’t realize how simple things are, and how little you have to actually keep in mind.

One of those things is being and feeling relaxed. If you’re not relaxed, you won’t be able to produce any good results (no matter what you’re doing), and this is where procrastination comes into play. Whenever we realize that there’s so much stuff to do, yet so little time, we immediately get stressed out and decide to take care of the easy (but unimportant) stuff and postpone the essential. This is procrastination.

Now, a short distinction between procrastination and laziness.

Advertising

  • Not doing anything at all: laziness.
  • Doing simple tasks instead of important tasks: procrastination.

Should you procrastinate?

This is the kicker. Yes, you should, because why the hell not?! Most authorities in the productivity niche say that we should always take care of just the essential tasks and fight every, even the smallest case of procrastination. I say the opposite (I guess I’m no authority then).

What I’m trying to convey here is that you can procrastinate if you’re in the mood, and use this time to reevaluate your goals. Here’s what I mean:I have never met anyone who would honestly want to get a given project going yet couldn’t find the time to do so. If something is important to you, you will find the time and dedication. If something is not that important, though, you will struggle to get it done because you’re acting against yourself.

What it all means is that “essential” tasks are not really essential if you don’t feel like taking care of them. The problem is that sometimes we like to (or feel the need to) fool ourselves that something is important to us, when in fact, it isn’t. The lesson here is rather simple: If you’re in the mood for procrastination, do it, do it like a boss, and use this time to reevaluate what’s on your plate.

However, before you start…

Advertising

Improve your schedule and relaxation

The whole concept of reevaluation I’m going to present in just a minute is a rather brutal one, so before you can try it out I advise you to take a look at your current schedule and “relaxation levels,” so to speak.

As I said a couple of paragraphs above, the lack of relaxation is often one of the main causes of procrastination. The thing is that when you’re relaxed, you’re in control. You have no doubts or stress regarding the things you should be doing and when you should be doing them. Relaxation allows you take care of the tasks you have planned, instead of finding alternatives.

That’s why before you do anything else, it’s really important to build a schedule that you are happy with—one that makes room for any non-work-related activity you wish, and one that doesn’t require constant late night work. When you have this, you can spend the evening relaxing and recharging your batteries. This will allow you to work more smoothly during your productive hours.

So the only question is: Do you still feel the need to procrastinate? If that’s a yes then you need some serious reevaluation.

Advertising

How to procrastinate

Let me share my own example here as a kind of a case study.

For some time now (close to two months actually) I’ve been running an experiment in which every time I’m tempted to procrastinate, I don’t even try to fight it, but instead just go with the flow (step #1).

Then I spend 5 minutes or so trying to come up with the reason of my procrastination (step #2). I focus on the appointed most important task of the day and why I don’t want to take care of it. I’m trying to list every reason that comes to mind.

When I’m done, I just set the list aside and handle my other tasks—the ones I’m procrastinating with (step #3). Remember that these tasks should still matter; spending your time on anything that doesn’t matter at all is a pure waste.

Advertising

I repeat this process whenever procrastination hits me. Then, if I start noticing that one particular project is being constantly procrastinated on, it’s probably not the most suitable project for me after all. This causes me to reevaluate it, and in most cases get rid of it completely.

Picture such a situation: If you’re running a business and you know that cold calling is an effective marketing method, yet you keep procrastinating on it for two weeks straight, then maybe you should stop fooling yourself and try something that’s more suitable for you…? Now, in this example I’m not trying to say that cold calling is not effective. I’m just saying that it’s not effective for everybody. No matter what your job/work is, you should always find your own effective way of handling it, not the way you think is effective but never get to execute it with dedication.

The point is simply this: Do what’s right for you. If you find yourself procrastinating, you may just be in the wrong area of activities/tasks/projects.

Cut-out-‘n-keep cheat sheet

Just in case you like such things, here’s the cut-out-‘n-keep cheat sheet.

  1. Improve your schedule so you have time for anything.
  2. Relax.
  3. Procrastinate consciously (jot down the reason).
  4. Reevaluate your projects and goals.

What’s your take on procrastination? Do you consider it being the #1 enemy of a productive lifestyle?

More by this author

Karol Krol

Blogger, published author, and founder of a site that's all about delivering online business advice

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done How to Steep a Perfect Cup of Tea Every Single Time 10-Email-Management-Skills 10 Email Management Skills Everyone Should Learn to Be More Productive How Not to Fall Into a Productivity Hole 11 Unique, Useful Tools for Freelancers That Make You More Productive

Trending in Work

1 How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules 2 How to Answer the Interview Question “What Motivates You?” 3 10 Signs of a Bad Boss and How to Deal with Them 4 How to Figure Out What Motivates You at Work 5 Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

Advertising

Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

Advertising

“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

Advertising

And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

Advertising

9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next