There’s a better way to delay getting all your work done. Here’s how to procrastinate without wasting time.
Chances are, if you’re reading this you haven’t finished everything on your to-do list for today, whether it’s a job search or a mission to get promoted. You might be procrastinating a little bit. But don’t click away in guilt just yet, procrastination can benefit your career when done in a controlled and strategic way. Here are tips for how to procrastinate, but with a purpose.
Take a break with a boost
Your brain was not designed to be constantly “on” throughout the day, and you need recurring breaks to replenish your focus on tasks. But your rest can be productive, rather than simply scrolling through social media. Give your brain a boost with your break. You can use an app that teaches you a new language, do a crossword puzzle, or read a chapter in a book. Search for something that energizes you to be more productive later.
Set a schedule
To procrastinate is human. But instead of letting it control you, set a timer to give yourself a designated break time. Tools for your phone or web browser like the Pomodoro app automatically track your time and give you a notification when it’s time to kick back, and when it’s time to work.
There’s a temptation to split the difference between productivity and procrastinating when taking a break. You’ll want to respond to a few emails to assuage your guilt of putting off that pressing project. In the long run, this will make you less productive. Your stores of energy and attention are finite, so when you’re taking a break, unplug entirely. This will recharge your batteries and you’ll be able to dive into your project refreshed and ready for the challenge.
The key to better habits isn’t to stop procrastinating entirely since that’s impossible. Rather, recognize and work with your natural rhythms, and take a break with something that can benefit your goals. Of course, sometimes you need to be completely frivolous too.