Procrastination. Focusing on ‘something else’ for now.

Call it whatever you like, we’ve all been through it at some point. When you don’t want to do something and suddenly, anything and everything else in your life (except for that task) becomes urgent and needs your full attention. I’ve come across that recently with writing food review articles – I’d try out some jazzy new place but when I sat down to write about it, there was always something more ‘important’ that had to be done. Like eating out at another place for a catch up the next night.

Eat, procrastinate, repeat.

Maybe this is exactly what you’re doing right now. Being more productive is always on the top of our resolutions list but it’s putting that desire to practice that’s difficult. I’ve looked deep and hard at what’s been stopping me and aired it out here. If you’ve done something similar today or see the same tabs on the top of your page, you might be in trouble.

Hopefully I don't look that creepy when I'm at my computer screen...

I think we all know what this guy’s looking at

1.Watching the latest Game of Thrones and Quantico Episodes

Since New Zealand is a day ahead of the US screening, it’s always a Monday that the new episodes come out. It’s a new week and you had all the good intentions of starting a new routine but it’s so tempting. You have to watch it the day it comes out because you’re nipping the problem in the bud. If you don’t watch the newest episode, someone might spoil it for your on Facebook right? If you stream it, there are no advertisements so you’re really saving time right? No. It’s okay to say no to the dragons and attractive FBI agents, even if its just for a little while.

2. Checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media

A message pops up on the corner of your screen. Your phone lights up from a notification. Social media is the death trap of time and you don’t even realise it. Before you know it, you’ll be scrolling through the newest photos of people’s engagements, weddings, their babies and relationships status updates (which in all honestly, holy shit, seems to be happening so quickly). I recently started receiving Tastemade’s posts – boy that was a big mistake. I’m stopping every few seconds to watch a recipe that I’ll never even make. Deep down, you know the conversation you want to comment on or photo worth a ‘Like’ will be there in an hours time. Sure you’ll need to scroll down a bit but hey, that can be your exercise for the day.

3. Binge Watching a Series on Netflix

Once you’ve caught up on the latest episodes of a series, time to go back to ye ol’ Netflix. It’s unsuspecting because it’s always on in the background and there’s just so much to get through. Maybe that Netflix Original series won’t be as bad as the last one but you won’t know until you try a couple of episodes right? I recently watched Jimmy Carr’s Funny Business (which was great) as well as a binge session through Brooklyn Nine Nine. The shorter the episodes, the more you feel you can watch since 20 minutes is nothing in the scheme of things. If Netflix had a ‘Hours Watched’ section similar to Steam’s ‘Hours Played’, I’d be pretty embarrassed at the number.

4. Exploring the Weird Side of Youtube

This one is self-explanatory – you start off with an innocent 3-minute trending video. A thumbnail on the side grabs your attention, the title seems equally interesting and two hours later you’ve watched 50 short videos about nothing but you’re totally up to date with the newest movie trailers…

Beware the false sense of productivity

Beware the false sense of productivity

5.Cleaning Your Room, Closet or General Spring Cleaning

A moment of self-awareness of your environment tends to come over you when you start settling into your workspace. Maybe you notice that your desk is a bit untidy. That sock on the floor should be in the laundry basket. Those clothes in the closet are such a mess. All thoughts that you should NOT act on – unless you’re absolutely certain you’ll stop once you’ve completed the one task you’ve noticed. While this is one of the more productive tasks to avoid on the list, it’s still a sneaky bastard that leaves you with nothing of your original task done.

6. Eating

Working takes up brain power and we need food to fuel us. While this is true, there is such thing as eating unnecessarily. I liken it to ‘Bored Eating’, when the prospect of eating is more exciting than what you’re doing, even if you’re not hungry. A bag of chips here, a can of red bull there – it’s not exactly our five plus a day we’ll be craving when doing such ‘strenuous’ work. I once started off looking for some goodies in the cupboard and ended up baking scones. How I got there, I’m not sure – all I know is that I was hungry, found some ingredients, I ‘apparently’ had the time and that day was a total write off.

7. Checking Emails

Necessary for some but not imperative. Unless it’s strictly work related, even those simple emails can take some time to troll through. Those Grabone deals won’t buy themselves, and of course you’ve suddenly become interested in the emails you signed up to many years ago but never used. We have an inbox for a reason, your emails can wait until you finish whatever you’re meant to be doing.

8. Writing a To Do List

Feels like the most productive thing and a step closer to completing your goal. If you have an action plan, you just need to follow it right? I found I’d spend more time listing things than actually doing them. I use Wunderlist which is a great tool, but for a while it was really discouraging to have a massive list leftover at the end of the day. Focus on 3 tasks that MUST be done by the end of the day and everything else is a bonus. Better to finish those important three than complete 30 useless ones.


So, I hope this list doesn’t resonate with you when trying to get things done and that you’re a productive go-getter. Pat yourself on the back if you are. But I think we both know the chances of that is slim to none otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this terribly important list instead of getting back to work…


About The Author

Nancy Yang

Known to love food a bit too much, Nancy now fuels her obsession through writing about those dining experiences she has for 'research purposes only'.

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