The topic of productivity is on the rise. Wherever you look around, you will see tips and tools helpful in boosting your work efficiency. There are plenty of articles on how to work smarter, not harder, how to faster and easier achieve your goals, as well as how to avoid the demons of procrastination.
Yet nobody writes about the significance of unproductive activities and they are as important as those productive. Let’s dig deeper into this topic.
Of course, binge-watching the latest season of your favorite tv-series shouldn’t be your priority when new projects with short deadline pile up on your desk. But having one or two unproductive ideas at hand is not a bad thing either. Being unproductive may sometimes turn out to bring benefits.
There are 3 main reasons for which unproductive activities are important. And these reasons are big.
#1 It boosts your productivity
However ridiculous it sounds, there is a lot of truth in that. However, it may apply more to remote workers and freelancers rather than people working regular hours, 9-5, in the office. The reason for that is the fact that when working from home, you are more prone to procrastination and activities which pull you away from work.
To do it in the best way possible, you should use a special tool for that. And by a special tool, I mean an app which will actually help you measure your levels of productivity and unproductivity – TimeCamp. A time tracking software which tracks all your activities, how much time you spend on them, and presents all the information in the form of graphical timesheets.
Once you see how much time you waste on things which are not productive, you will immediately get back to work.
#2 It teaches you to manage time properly
When you realize how you spend your time, it’s time for changes. Let’s go back to TimeCamp (or any other tool you use to keep track of your work).
With detailed reports, you get an insight into how much of your time, during which you should be working, goes to particular actions. Then, it is much easier to separate them into three different categories:
- time allocated to the most important projects;
- time allocated to smaller tasks;
- short block of time allocated to unproductive activities.
Why make such a list? Because it helps to properly manage the workflow, perform all tasks and projects on time, and avoid detrimental distractions. Now you can become the master of time management!
#3 It declutters your brain
Doing things not related to work may significantly lower your stress levels.
When served in a proper dosage, unproductive activities can serve as a form of relaxation. Since working with breaks is recommended to achieve the highest efficacy results, you can use those breaks for unproductive things.
During such breaks, you can watch an episode of your favorite tv-series, make a cup of fresh coffee, go for a walk, or read the latest news. It helps your brain to refresh and gain a new perspective on work.
Delegation and Productivity
There is one more aspect of unproductive productivity – delegating tasks. In one of the articles featured in Harvard Business Review, the authors wrote that they “found that even the most dedicated and impressive performers devoted large amounts of time to tedious, non-value-added activities such as desk work and “managing across” the organization (for example, meetings with people in other departments). These are tasks that the knowledge workers themselves rated as offering little personal utility and low value to the company.”
What does it tell us about productivity? That it is necessary to delegate tasks, rearrange them, or hold them up. Doing work for the sake of doing it will bring your company more harm than good. It will only slow down your work and, eventually, you will burn out.
If something is not important to your organization, drop it or delegate it.
Unproductive productivity is necessary yet only if combined with proper time management and delegation. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be smart to assign all the responsibility for your work to other people. You need to find the work-life balance by identifying the optimal productivity with the trial and error method.