We were going to run this article earlier today, but, you know…
According to a recent study, the average American worker spends around two hours a day at work on activities not-related to work—in other words, goofing off, messing around, or procrastinating. This ends up costing employers millions in lost productivity annually. (Shame on you if you’re reading this at work.) This national “epidemic” spreads beyond work. Other studies show that putting off things you have to do anyway, such as paying bills or filing taxes, can drain hundreds of dollars from your bank account.
That’s why some concerned citizens have—wait. Hang on just a second. Let’s watch this video of a big cat trying to get inside a little box.
Heh-heh. That was neat. Where were we? Oh! Right.
Some concerned citizens have created a new, unofficial holiday called Fight Procrastination Day. This observance, which falls on September 6 this year, seeks to draw attention to and snuff out our collective tendency to zone out, waste time, and dink around, both on the clock and off. To “celebrate,” here are three FPD-recommended tactics that will help you stay productive and on task:
• Take off all your clothes. Seriously. To help themselves remain focused, famous authors like Victor Hugo and James Whitcomb Riley reportedly wrote while naked. Among other reasons, it discouraged them from wandering off to the nearest pub. Agatha Christie supposedly liked to write in her bathtub.
• First things first. If your workplace frowns on public nudity (and it probably does), try this: Tackle the toughest tasks on your agenda first thing in the morning. That way, the rest of your day will be a cakewalk by comparison. As self-improvement expert Dale Carnegie once said, “Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”
• Eliminate distractions. Can’t stop reading Twitter on your phone? Put it in a drawer. Do you check Facebook every 10 minutes? Use a web tool like Productivity Owl to help you stay on task—if you stray from a productive task and hit the Internet, an animated owl swoops down over your work and tells you to get back on track. Or try an Internet access blocker like Self Control, which prevents you from browsing the Internet for a set period of time
But old habits die hard, so if you absolutely, positively must procrastinate, at least try to better yourself while you do so, and learn something—pick up an Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.