procrastination

Procrastination is an enemy of productivity. It is also somewhat inevitable. There are certain times we just don’t want to do what we need to do. For those times, there are actually ways to use procrastination to your advantage and be more productive.

Here are six things you can do to become productive while you’re procrastinating:

1. Do Similar Tasks

Maybe the main task you are trying to accomplish isn’t getting done at the moment. But focusing on similar or related tasks can help keep your mind focused on work. In college, I learned this trick when I just couldn’t get started on a particular assignment. Even if the assignment was due soon, I would not force the issue.

Instead, I would get ahead in a different area until the mood eventually turned to the more pressing matter. This kept me from ever really being too far behind, actually helped me get ahead of most things. Certainly, when you can get ahead, the pressure is reduced.

2. Clean Things

Cleaning can be quite cathartic. It’s also a great preparation tool. Cleaning the space where you intend to work helps concentration. At the office, one of the most unproductive times is at the end of the week.

Since I can’t get much work done on Fridays, I take the chance to clean up and organize my work space for a fresh start on Monday. This might mean my desk or it might mean the desktop or other files on my computer.

There is an excellent infographic on how long to keep paperwork or other files. While many things are important to keep, many more are not. Keeping too much junk around gets in the way. Cleaning up when you have down time can save valuable time when you need to concentrate.

3. Do Some Computer Maintenance

A computer, being the most useful tool any of us have, is well worth taking care of. Uninstall unused software to access more RAM and help speed up load time. Delete cookies and cache relatively often to keep your internet browsers up to speed and refreshed. Organize documents and files to be able to easily find things in the future.

Finally, it’s important to backup the system and prepare for the eventual doomsday. Most people skip protection, but losing information can really hurt productivity after a crash.

4. Find Useful Apps

Browse for phone apps that help with the type of work you do. There are dozens of helpful apps out there, and many that are specific to exactly what you need. Another good thing to download are task organizers with reminders and lists to stay focused. Learn how to use virtual assistants that are pre installed on your phone, since they may help for immediate needs.

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Instead of procrastinating by watching TV or mindlessly surfing the web and social media, try some more productive time killers. Time is too valuable to waste.

5. Take Time Out For Real Life

It is way too common for people to flood themselves with caffeine and junk food to save time. This does not aid in productivity and probably makes things worse. Drinking caffeine may help in the moment, but it sure doesn’t last long. And all those quick meals are no better.

Food has a direct impact on cognitive performance, fruits and vegetables are brain food. As with any other investment, you get back what you put in.

Though it may take more time, eating foods known to be healthier will have an amazing impact on productivity in both the short and long term. You will also save a lot of money by not getting the quick snacks and lunches in the middle of the day. Best bet is to have healthy snacks at the office and start a good habit.

6. Get Extra Sleep

It may seem lazy and counter intuitive, but taking breaks and getting rest is a must when it comes to being productive. True, by staying up and pressing out more and more, you may increase quantity, but not the quality of the work. The long term prognosis isn’t good when you short change your health.

A fresh mind goes a long way toward creating a satisfied customer. If you’re brain dead it will show in your work. Get rest, whether it means going to bed early at night, or taking a nap in the middle of the day.

You know that go-getter attitude the boss has on a Monday morning? Harness that spirit as much as possible by being ready for all the mental challenges.

Preparation

What all these suggestions have in common are preparation. When we plan ahead, we save a lot of time and money in the future.

Cleaning and organizing your work space, knowing the tools and keeping them sharp, keeping the right fuel in your body and enough endorphins in your brain will do way more for productivity than anything you actually do on the job.

How Do You Work With Productive Procrastination?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Daniel Myrick
Daniel is a freelance writer and observationist, former English teacher and failed comedian. He is an ardent champion of terrestrial, freeform radio and a DJ at Radio Boise.
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