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How to be productive while procrastinating


After a morning of heavy-duty, time-consuming, mentally-taxing procrastination, I feel great! We all do it. Avoid the tasks that feel simply ‘too hard’ in favour of… well… anything.

It’s largely frowned upon and, man-oh-man, it’s got to be in the Top 10 of all guilty pleasures. But, today, I suddenly feel better for all the work avoidance that I have achieved over the last four hours.

Why? Because I made my procrastination productive!

Here are my seven tips:

Clean: Some people say that a messy desk is evidence of an organised mind. I tend to feel that a messy desk is evidence of a messy desk. I also have begun to appreciate the value of a clean computer. By ordering my RSS feeds, banishing unnecessary ‘tweat-freaks’ (I don’t care if you cooked Paella for dinner last night!) and short-cutting my favourite work-related web pages, I have already shaved off half-an-hour of unnecessary hunting for passwords and by eliminating distracting messages from my day.

Exercise: There are many studies on why healthy workers are better workers and, let’s face it, as a business owner, you’re probably the company’s most expensive piece of machinery. However, I’d like to acknowledge that this is probably only helpful if you work from home. I’ve attempted in-office exercise but it generally does little more than alarm my colleagues.

Meditate: Yes, thinking is good. We probably don’t do enough of it. Newton came up with his theory of gravity while catching forty-winks under an apple tree, remember. I personally like to go for a stroll. There are many Anthillians who have benefited (and perhaps suffered) as a result of my ‘walks’. You know who you are, having received a call out of the blue, with a JV suggestion or business angle. Not all the ideas that have come from these walks are ‘innovation gold’, but they sure compel the often unwilling recipients of my suggestions to use the old grey matter.

Alternate: Conventional productivity wisdom holds that you should tackle the hardest, least paletteable task on your plate first, so the rest of the day seems like gravy. However, if you are going to procrastinate, and you have two tough tasks, procrastinate on the harder by embarking on the easier. While this might sound like post-modern hyperbole (“By focusing on the ‘other’, we can only truly understand ourselves”), it’s actually the most blatantly obvious among these suggestions. However, like all good ideas, we read, agree and rarely initiate. In this instance, I hope that you will take my advice and promptly start procrastinating.

Things not to do…

Don’t surf the internet, unless you are trawling AnthillOnline, in which case, I recommend Anthill TV. You’ll be able to make the rationalisation that you’re educating yourself about business trends (but really you’ll just be getting your rocks off on the business clips we post each day).

Don’t bother work colleagues to kill time, unless you think this might end in delegation. Sometimes your nightmare is just what a colleague is looking for to get their mojo back. If you’re the boss, you might be doing your underlings a favour by increasing their responsibilities. Everyone can benefit from a first attempt.

Don’t snack. I only put this in because it’s a personal vice and hopefully if I write about it, I might actually digest my own recommendations. Mmmm… Digest… I wonder where I can get some burger rings right about now?

If you have any further ideas on how to make procrastination productive, please leave them below. If that sounds like too much hard work, you watch this fun video clip instead.