The Science Behind Why You Procrastinate In The Afternoon (and How To Stop)

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It’s 3 p.m. and you find yourself struggling to focus on work. You can’t seem to stop checking Facebook. Instead of being productive, you welcome distractions like text messages and co-workers coming by to chat.

Welcome to the afternoon slump: that time in your workday when your brain refuses to cooperate with you and you can’t stop procrastinating.

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Loneliness at Work: The Best of the Internet

you'll never knowWeekend edition of link love! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week! 

Sending this one email to your boss can change your career.

Loneliness at work is everyone’s problem.

Vanquish procrastination. Seriously.

Face your weakness. Boost your confidence.

The API of You.

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The Procrastination Workshop: The Best of the Internet

Happy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week!

Marc Andreessen’s surprising procrastination antidote to super-productive superpowers.

Don’t waste productivity superpower on getting just any old stuff done. Get the right stuff done …

By saying no to spending time thinking unhelpful thoughts …

And by taking time for yourself. Pick your battles and recharge your human batteries —

So that you can face the question with that strong heart of yours, of what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

And stay open to face fear, for “being vulnerable, especially in our work, is fucking terrifying” and that vulnerability is where empathy begins.

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Marc Andreessen’s Surprising Antidote to Procrastination

It’s almost inconceivable that somebody as productive as Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape, Opsware, Ning, and Andreessen Horowitz, needs a way to deal with procrastination. But it turns out he’s just like the majority of humankind.

His solution of structured procrastination is rather devious. Instead of fighting procrastination, go with the flow and put that task on hold. Meanwhile, work on something else. He explains:

The gist of Structured Procrastination is that you should never fight the tendency to procrastinate — instead, you should use it to your advantage in order to get other things done.

Generally in the course of a day, there is something you have to do that you are not doing because you are procrastinating.

While you’re procrastinating, just do lots of other stuff instead.

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Photo: Dick Jensen

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Why Workers Are Like Athletes

‘The longer you work, the less efficient you are,’ said Bob Kustka, the founder of Fusion Factor, a productivity and time-management consulting firm in Norwell, Mass. He says workers are like athletes in that they are most efficient in concentrated bursts…. Working energy, like physical energy, ‘is best used in spurts where we work hard on a few focused activities and then take a brief respite,’ he says. And those respites look an awful lot like wasting time.

Lisa Belkin explores how we are both working harder and wasting more time. Whether you consider it wasting time, or productive “jell time”, she concludes that it’s the end result that matters.

Get Up, Go Outside, Be Productive!

Instead of procrastinating away on the internets, be productive toward something else — including taking care of yourself!

Perspectives on Procrastination

We are constantly trading off what we are doing now against what we might do in the future. As long as we are doing that in a reasonable way, it doesn’t matter that we are putting some things off.

Frank Partnoy reports on how experts in different fields view procrastination in Procrastination Rules. He describes how a journalist manages time by managing delay:

For projects that require different amounts of time, Guerrera makes separate lists. He describes a technique he and many other journalists use: “We have two sets of notebooks, a small one and a big one. The small one is for immediate day-to-day stories, the work we have to do right away. The big one is for big thoughts, features and stories that have some time. There’s an actual physical distinction between our immediate stories and the ones we can wait on. The physical form of two notebooks is our way of saying it’s too overwhelming to do both at the same time.”

Managing delay or, yes, procrastination, can be positive, reasonable behavior depending on what you’re actually trading off.