I bet you’ve read tons of articles telling you how to be productive at work.
Eat healthily, sleep well, stay positive, be a good team player, yeah, yeah, we know that. Has anyone ever told you how to screw it up?
Here are some DOs of unproductivity:
Have too many meetings that could have been emails. The more meetings you have in the morning — the more unproductive you’ll be all day. A meeting actually takes much more than planned. When you know it’s going to happen at 11 AM, start thinking about it at 10:45. Even better, if you need to prepare for it, start even earlier. Put your regular task on hold for a few hours. Then, when the meeting is done, go back to your seat. Think about what happened at the meeting. You’ll need at least 15–20 minutes to get focused again. What a lovely way to lose a few hours of the working day!
“A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition, there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning,” Paul Graham wrote in his Maker’s Schedule.
The open-floor office is a MUST. You are working at an open-floor office? Great! Your first step to unproductiveness has been made. Now you only need to explain what you’re working on to every colleague that comes by to stare at your screen or see what you’re doing. And, while they are here, why don’t you have a structured debate about Brexit and whether it’s actually going to happen. Make sure you pay attention to every single person that you encounter. Keep up the good work!
Bonus: Loud music in the office is a great plus. Don’t even think about putting classical music on those headphones and staying out of the main office gossips.
Don’t understand the problem you’re working on. Work on a project you have no idea about. Let it just not make any sense. Make sure not to have a clue on who that client is and what the hell does he want to achieve with this. You don’t even try to ask. You’ll screw this one up for sure.
Don’t believe in the project. You think this is going nowhere. With every line of code you write, you just keep being sure this will serve for NOTHING. Who’s gonna use this anyway? You know you wouldn’t. And the development lasts for ages. Finish this, finish that, it’s just endless. No job-well-done feeling, no sense of relief.
Notifications. They keep coming. And you can’t take it. You just go and see who texted you and who liked your picture. Maybe it’s something important. (Come on, you know it isn’t.) And, that notification took you to your Facebook wall. You saw some political news. Some jerk posted such a dumb comment. Go ahead, reply to him. Tell him how things really are.
Multitasking. Multitasking is modern. Multitasking is the core of millennial life. Not living it? You’re doing it ALL WRONG. Focusing on only one important thing? Useless. No one’s ever gonna call you a ROCKSTAR this way. Wake up, dude! Writing code while posting on Instagram while tweeting about politics while telling your coworker a story from the bar last night is THE REAL DEAL.
Working on one project at a time? Are you kidding me? Try being engaged with more urgent projects at once, not knowing what to prioritize, being pressured by deadlines. That’s HOW IT SHOULD BE. Get yourself some more work! Why could you possibly think you deserve to live without pressure?
Procrastinate. Everything. You have so much time. Why would you do it now? Come on, scroll on Facebook. Check out that video of a dog chasing a cat. Thaaat’s it. You’ll do it tomorrow. No rush. You don’t have to start to work first thing in the morning. Don’t be that boring. Get coffee. Chat with colleagues. That project isn’t going anywhere.
The last few hours of your day are the only time you should be working. So, you come to work. Check your email, reply to everyone. Okay, it’s time to start working. No, wait. You haven’t had your coffee yet. Go and make it. You meet a colleague there. “Hey, how was your weekend?” Talk for half an hour. Go back to your desk. Time to start. But, you’re kind of hungry. What? Lunchtime? Well, of course, you’ll work better with your stomach full! Okay, lunch is done. Check your email again, something important might have come up. Now it’s REALLY the time to start. Start. Work for two or three hours. Time to go home! So fast? Wow, what a crazy day!
Make sure your boss is a micro-manager. You wanted more meetings, and your micro-managing boss is gonna give them to you. They will come to your desk and interrupt you all the time. They will ask questions about every single detail you did. They will show you the flaws of your skills and crush your motivation into a million pieces. You’ll love it.
Here you go, the definite guide to unproductiveness. Now, the only thing left is to screw those projects up. Well, not right now. Check out that cute baby video on Instagram first.
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