Procrastinate At Work To Boost Your Productivity
Procrastinate. Take a nap during work. Skip an office day. Yet be even more productive. Do we sound crazy? A bit, but we invite you to open your mind for a moment and embrace some unusual tips to boost your job performance.
Leave the most important things for later
Wait, what? You read it right. Procrastination can have a positive impact on your pile of work. Stanford Professor, John Perry, has elaborated a very interesting essay that states how you can accomplish a lot of more tasks while mastering the art of leaving things for later. “Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.”
When do you get the things on top of the list done? “The trick is to pick the right sorts of projects for the top of the list. The ideal sorts of things have two characteristics, First, they seem to have clear deadlines (but really don’t). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren’t).”
Don’t eat lunch at your desk
John Trougakos, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior & HR Management at the University of Toronto has published a study on lunch break patterns amongst office workers. He states the lack of a proper lunch break can increase fatigue and lower productivity. “We really only have so much psychological energy that we can use on any given day. All efforts to control behavior, to perform and to focus draw on that pool of psychological energy. Once that energy source is depleted, we become less effective at everything we do”, claims Trougakos.
This means that adding a break to your day is essential to keep your brain stimulated. String at your inbox or reading random news online does not count. Neither does the business lunch as “it doesn’t provide you with the chance to recover”, according to Trougakos. You need absence of stimuli for your neurons to nourish and renew your energy, so use your lunch break for this necessary pause in work.
Get out, socialize and let your mind wander off. You will most likely not be working while you’re eating anyways. Instead of checking Facebook, Instagramming your sandwich, go out and get your meal elsewhere. If you don’t have time to head off to a restaurant, try your office patio – or even any other desk that is not where you usually work.
Turn your music up
Do you have some boring tasks to do? Grab your headphones, choose your soundtrack and get in the zone – you’ll do them faster. When you’re listening to a song you like, your brain releases dopamine, neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers – so your work will seem more fun as well.
A study published in Neuroscience of Behavior and Physiology journal reveals that one’s ability to recognize images, letters, and numbers is faster with rock or classical music playing in the background compared to when there was no sound. Something similar was achieved with workers on an assembly line – they were happier and more efficient.
According to this very interesting article about how music affects your job performance, “If you’re working on something that you have done many times before, even if it’s complicated, your performance can increase and errors become less likely when you listen to music you like.” So by all means, turn it up!
Say NO to new tasks
If you are overwhelmed, there is nothing wrong in saying you can’t add another task into you check list. It’s better to be honest than make a promise you can’t keep. If you’re organized enough (remember to procrastinate wisely from now on), you will know how much work you can handle, and that means denying new projects when it comes to it. Just make sure you know when and how to say ‘no’ to your boss.
Use social media while working
If you think that checking facebook, tweeting or checking your digital news feed during work is bad for your workflow, think again. Two recent studies – one by Big Data Evolv and the other by a Warwick Business School professor – showed that digital connectivity seems to enhance your productivity.
“The fact that they’re better at handling customer interactions may stem from the fact that they’re inherently more social people,” Evolv suggests. Professor Nandhakumar also has some interesting insights after observing the behavior of white-collar workers from leading tech-companies. Those using different social media networks were more creative and collaborative at work, and with a more productive outcome.
Take a nap during the day
We should all learn from Japan. Taking naps during the workday is normal and encouraged. They even have a word for it – Inemuri. “When we see people napping during lunchtime, we think, ‘They are getting ready to put 100% in during the afternoon,’ ” says Paul Nolasco, a Toyota spokesman in Tokyo. “Nobody frowns upon it. And no one hesitates to take one during lunchtime either.”
A recent survey by National Sleep Foundation has showed that 43% of Americans say they rarely get a good night’s sleep on weeknights. That has a negative impact on your productivity but a quick power nap could solve that. Another study has proved that sleeping for 20 to 30 minute regularly enhanced performance on cognitive tests in the following hours.
Work from home
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: allowing your employees to work from home from time to time can be very good for your company. Depending on your line of work sometimes it’s great to be able to do your job away from the crowded and loud office environment – this is especially true if you’re working within the creative industries, like writing and design.
A recent research found that teleworkers believe flexible work schedules allowed them to be more productive and to perform better at work. ”Our study confirms that flexible work is a way for managers to invest in the wellbeing of their workers increasing productivity, job satisfaction, and retaining talented workers”, claims Dr. Rachelle Bosua from the University of Melbourne.
So next time you feel the urge to work in your pajamas, to surf the internet in search of something hilarious to publish on your facebook wall, or to try that new restaurant around the corner, don’t feel guilty. Remember that if you do it the right way, all these actions can cause a positive impact on your productivity.