Stop procrastinating by asking yourself this one simple question

Let me just look at this status update, and then I'm back at work
Let me just look at this status update, and then I'm back at work

As I’ve explored in a previous post ( Procrastination can be deadly for your career. The difficulty is to identify when and what make you procrastinate, and stop it.

Most people use elaborate to-do lists (which never work- see another post :, create reminders and other mechanisms to help them cope with the sad reality of not being able to complete the task they need to complete. But all these are doomed since the real problem nowadays is that procrastination is difficult to detect, and therefore, mitigate.

What do I mean? In today’s world, so many activities look like actual, beneficial work, when in fact, they are nothing more than time-consuming, exhausting habits we indulge in. Take email for instance- it is easy to get lost in endless emails that swamp your inbox, and forget that only a minute percentage of these is actually work related AND productive. Or the daily routine of “where should we go dine today/ what should we order in?”- this is another time drainer which does little to advance your daily tasks. And finally- social media and web surfing- 2 activities which take up sooooo much of our time today. Sure, it is nearly impossible to ignore these and some people (self- included) actually use these platform for work. But for most it’s a huge waste of time, and so is the endless communication apps which constantly beep to alert us about a new message post by some family member or distant friend. Whatsapp groups are the worst, endless babble all day long, and it’s enough to have one bored member of the group who keeps posting to annoy all the other members (remember- that guy isn’t working like you, so do not engage him! He will naturally get bored and stop eventually).

So given that all these activities SEEM like work (or desired/ expected social behavior at least) how do you block yourself and concentrate on the important stuff?

Easy. Just ask yourself, at any point during your day (and preferably, multiple times)- is this the best use of my time? If I had only 5 minutes left before leaving the office, is this what I would have been doing? Chances are that no, you are not putting your time to the best possible use, hence you are eroding it’s value, which is an awful lot like procrastinating.

So stop, and do something more productive.

Keep asking yourself this daily, and at some point it will become second nature, thus minimizing your time wasting habit and eventually eliminating them.

And if after that you still need a list to complete your tasks, be my guest. At least you’ve made sure you will actually focus on completion rather than spend more time on Facebook…

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