The 5 Best Ways to be Unproductive

JillProductivity14 Comments

I just quit my side job that I've had now for the last 18 months. It was in the field of procrastination, and let me tell you, I was a freakin' pro at it.

I had honed my skills to include constant distractions, wandering thoughts, pointless tasks, social media creeping, and some serious meme scrolling. Basically, it included any task other than working and focusing on the things that needed to get done.

It was an entertaining job but it wasn't paying the bills. So I quit.

But before I did that, I came up with 5 badass ways to be unproductive…as well as 5 tweaks to help you focus more and kick the procrastination inclination.

Hit the Snooze Button

This is one sure-fire way to be unproductive. Sleeping in is a ‘luxury' we gift ourselves with when we feel like we deserve a treat.

Why? Because it's comfy, it feels good and sometimes getting out of bed just isn't as much fun as staying in bed.

But guess what? If you get used to this sleeping in thing, you will only find more excuses to allow yourself to sleep in.

Instead, set an appropriate time for you to get up and stick to it. Even if it is only an hour earlier.

That extra hour can make a real difference in your productivity levels.

When Josh and I first started living together, we were waking up at 11! 11am in the freakin' morning. What are we, teenagers?

Slowly but surely we started knocking an hour off our rise and shine time and are now consistently up and moving for 7:30am.

That means we usually have all our morning tasks knocked off and are working well before 11am.

It has done wonders for our productivity and it gives us more of a sense of accomplishment when we look at the clock and realize how much we have done.

Just be sure you stick to this new earlier wake up call. It may be a pain in the ass to get used to but within a few weeks you may even beat your alarm.

Creep Your Social Profiles

Nothing, I repeat, nothing is a more awesome time waster than scrolling through your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, BuzzFeed or Reddit for pictures of stupid animals or babies doing stupid things.

I have personally bled hours upon hours on those sites; and that's without even hitting up my other chosen procrastination inspirations such as Tard The Grumpy Cat (a personal favourite of mine), Dog Shaming, celebrity Instagram phtos and trolling YouTube.

And it was wasting my time.

Seriously.

Think about it – if you could replace the amount of time you spend on your 5 favourite time-wasting websites with tasks that help to grow your business, how fast do you think you could double your income?

I bet within 2 months.

Well, now you can.

The first step to this is to install the Google Chrome extension, Nanny.

With Nanny you can chose to block specific sites for however long you choose to block them for – 1 hour, 5 hours, 24 hours, a week! The choice is up to you and trust me, you will be amazed how much you can get done when you cannot access your favourite time wasters.

Just don't block Tard the Grumpy Cat. That shit is awesome.

Screw Your To-Do

One of the easiest ways to waste time and not get anything done is to go into your work week without a plan.

Not only is it liberating to be plan-less but you have the whole week to get a few tasks done at whatever rate they pop into your head.

Maybe it will make a difference to your business, maybe it won't. But who cares? To-do lists and planning and deadlines are for the corporate folk. We don't need that.

I mean, why make a to-do list? Why plan out your week? Why create any sort of momentum in your business? Hell, why worry about making sweet sweet money right now when it will all work out in the end?

That was me in my 20's.

That reckless decade where I was damn near convinced that I didn't need to take responsibility for my life. That's what adults did and I was far from an adult.

I also must have been sniffing glue and drinking bathtub vodka because I was quickly coming up on a new decade and didn't have a damn thing to show for it. And I realized I was slightly embarrassed by that.

So I became a To-Do'er.

Each night before heading to bed I wrote out my to-do list for the next day. I felt focused. I felt a sense of clarity. And I felt a quiet sense of accomplishment ticking each one of those tasks off throughout my day.

Now you may not be down with writing out a to-do list each and every night. After all, Josh thinks I'm crazy for how many notepads I go through, but it works for me.

He on the other hand uses Google Tasks in his Gmail account. Simply click on tasks, add each item you need to get done for the day, and strike them off as you finish each one. It's like a written to-do list but without the dead trees.

However, if you don't have a Gmail account and aren't into writing out a to-do list each night, consider checking out a site called TeuxDeux.

It's a browser-based app that allows you to create your task lists easily and free of charge. TeuxDeux also has an iPhone app that syncs up with the browser app so your list is always updated.

Whichever method you choose, just be sure you incorporate some form of planning for your week so you can focus on what needs to get done, get that shit done and then get some other shit done.

Plus, you will get to look back over your week and really see how much you were able to get accomplish.

Pack Your Week Full of Meetings

Cram your week full of useless, we-didn't-get-a-damn-thing-done-but-isn't-this-coffee-awesome meetings and you should be able to waste a full day's work without actually accomplishing anything.

Doesn't that sound appealing?

No. It doesn't. And you know why? Because meetings are bullshit. They are time-wastin' tasks that don't belong in your online business.

I mean, what the heck can you possibly achieve more effectively at an in-person meeting that you couldn't accomplish (more efficiently) during a Skype call? Not only will you save the transit time but you will save yourself a few dollars on coffee each time you turn down the request for a meeting.

Instead, try to streamline meetings by allotting a certain amount of time on a specific day and stick to it. Not only will you cut out the unnecessary chatter but you will get more done in less time.

Not into Skype? Try Google Hangouts. It's exactly like Skype but you can chat with more than one person AND you can ‘wear' silly hats and disguises, making your meetings that much more entertaining.

Not that I've worn a party hat, glasses, and a moustache during a Google Hangout meeting.

Be a Yes Man…or Woman

Saying yes to every invite, event, dinner party, cocktail party, networking event, restaurant opening, housewarming party, spa day, or football-watchin'-fried-food-eatin' boys day will do one thing – make you feel extremely loved…and take up all your time.

Sure, it's nice to have people around you wanting to spend time with you but when you are focused and intent on building your lifestyle business, these are the kind of invitations you need to say no to.

Don't get me wrong, I falter here.

In fact, back in Toronto I packed mine and Josh's schedule so full at one point that we didn't even have one day to ourselves in 2 weeks.

What did that get us? A backlog of work that took us a solid 2 weeks to climb back from.

Instead, now we pick and choose which events, meet-ups and dinner parties we can go to and are better able to focus our time and attention on the people we care about.

It's made a noticeable difference in our productivity levels and we have found that we appreciate the time we do spend with friends much more than we used to.

When you think about it, it is the small tweaks in your day-to-day routine that can make all the difference in your productivity. Because after all, procrastinating is fun but it doesn't pay the bills. And, well, paying your bills is kinda necessary…at least your internet bill.

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  • Andy

    Hi Jill,
    Thanks for an honest and humorous post like usual. For anyone wanting a paper free ‘to do’ list then i would suggest evernote.com – It is free, easy to use and i could not live without it.

    PS – Are you releasing a course shortly?

    • Jill

      Hey Andy,

      Thanks so much, I’m so happy you liked it! Josh uses evernote and loves it…I just personally need to write things down or it doesn’t really exist to me haha!

      As for a course, not anytime soon but we are releasing a free book that is a complete A-Z on how to do what we do. I’ll be sure to give everyone a heads up once we launch it so you can download it whenever you like!

      Again, thanks for the kind words 🙂

  • Samantha

    Hi Jill and Josh!

    As irony would have it, I am procrastinating right now by reading your article on procrastinaton! But it certainly served as a quick internet kick in the pants! I have been trying to quit the snooze button for years! I will certainly be enlisting the help of my better half to make that happen (I knew I kept him around for a good reason, lol)!

    I am also a hug fan of evernote, but I think I’m going to start using your pen and paper technique as I would agree with you, physical paper just seems more accountable.

    Something else that I just started doing, and may sound super crazy, is setting timers for completing tasks. For example, I could shower for 45 minutes if I didn’t keep track of time. I swear I do my best thinking in there, however, this is hardly very effecient. So I started using the countdown timer on my phone to keep me on track.

    Great article and thanks for all the awesome tips 🙂

    • Jill

      That’s an awesome idea Sam and something Josh could consider since he’s like a teenage girl when it comes to showering! hahahaha 😉

      He’s the same as you and loves to just zone out and think in there…but love love loving the idea of timers! I should give that a shot for my to-do list. I’ve actually heard that working in 50 minute increments is supposed to be one of those hacks that helps you blaze through work. We should give it a shot 🙂

  • Great article – I would also like to call myself a productivity geek!

    Two things that changed my productivity world:

    http://www.trello.com – to do cloud management software

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done

    Trello is free and a few $ for the book.

    Take care

    Nomandic Jim

    • Jill

      Thanks Jimmy, I’ve been hmm’ing and hawing over Cloud the last few months 🙂

      Appreciate you taking the time to read and hope things are going well back home!

  • An awesome post as usual Jill & Josh…

    Another great tool to help you focus your ‘online time’ is RescueTime – https://www.rescuetime.com/

    It is a little like Nanny only easier to use and with more features.

    I also use Evernote, but only for notes, and I’m seriously thinking of moving over to Google Keep in the near future. For to-do lists, I find Remember the Milk does a much better job, especially for tasks that need to repeat over time.

    I think my ‘aha moment’ came when I realised that multi-tasking just doesn’t work, and that if you block out time to ‘single task’, you save hours every day. So – I check email 4 times a day for 10 minutes, instead of responding to notifications, beeps and bells every time an email arrives, and then invariably going off on a tangent for another 30 minutes thanks to the email.

    If anything really important arrives in my inbox, I use AwayFind to send me a text message so I can deal with it quickly.

    Applying the same ‘single tasking’ approach to all my other jobs makes me more productive.

    My last tip is SaneBox ( http://sanebox.com/t/cqfo8). It keeps my inbox down to just the emails that really need answering, pushing all the newsletters and bulk mails into folders for dealing with later, which I do once a day. It saves me about 5 hours a week… 🙂

    • Jill

      Woah! Those are awesome tips, thanks so much Stewart! I have to look into all of those 🙂

      You seem to be on the productivity ball, my friend!

      • On the productivity ball, while juggling two or three other balls. That’s my life, right there in a nutshell. 😉

        Thanks again for an awesome article – some great advice as usual.

        • Jill

          You’re a jack of all trades, my friend 🙂

  • Ali

    Great Article Jilly! You have come such a long way haven’t you. I remember not so long ago when waking up at 730 was preeetty tough 😉 . But seriously, good tips!

    • Jill

      Haha aren’t you funny!

      I’m a new woman now Al 😉

  • Sabrina

    A few things:
    1- You are a bad ass To-Do’er/list maker now…I can attest to that.
    2 – I clearly need that Nanny app.
    3 – I look bad ass in a pirate hat.
    4 – My favourite way to ensure I TCOB is to reward myself at the end of a particularly hard work week. And I don’t mean by over indulging in booze because we all know that leads to an unproductive next day, but by going to a relaxing evening Pilates class or spending a few extra minutes watching traffic. Yes, I do consider traffic watching a treat. What?

    • Jill

      Lol I mean you look okay in a pirate hat 😉

      Secondly, you are the weirdest person I know…one who gets such thrills out of watching boring traffic out her window. What are you, 90?

      But I do love your Pilates suggestion…I just may try that myself!