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

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

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  • 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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  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?

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Karol Krol

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

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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