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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

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.

  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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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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