Self-Initiated Productivity Killers

While we clearly discuss ways to be more productive here at WorkAwesome, we don’t often delve too much into the productivity killers that you bring on yourself.  I was thinking about this as I was enjoying the 10th round of solitaire on my iPhone, accidentally-on-purpose avoiding a looming deadline.

It’s not that I didn’t want to do the job; I just didn’t really want to start.  The getting paid part of it was really great, and landing the project is always exciting.  The project itself…not so much.  So I found myself focusing my efforts on winning one more round.  And if it’s not solitaire, it’s crib – trying to get that elusive 29.  Curse you iPhone apps!

So what do you do to avoid doing what you should be doing, and how do you get yourself back on track?

Or am I the only one that does this?

After spending way too long in the corporate world, Jason has switched to full-time freelancing. With any luck you enjoyed this article - and if you need one of your very own, give him a shout! @brandscaping on the twitter, or at


  1. I wander off to the web and also I go outside to my terrace (I work from home), if I ever want to avoid doing what I should be doing.

    But that rarely happens, as I am too determined to complete tasks.

  2. Kaishin on the 18th June

    I read WorkAwesome 🙂

  3. Andrew on the 18th June

    Reading blogs like this one.

    Seriously, I find myself scouring Google Reader and looking at demo’s of cool new technology rather than doing the work that I could use those cool technologies in.

  4. Matt on the 18th June

    iPhone apps are the worst for me. Just trying to beat one more level. Sometimes when i’m working on a project on the computer, I’ll end up browsing the web and reading something that I’m interested in and that’s really educational (but of course not related to the task I’m supposed to be doing). I justify wasting time by telling myself, “it’s educational!”.

    How to avoid it? I have no idea. I read this post because I thought it would have the answer.

  5. Nina East on the 18th June

    I have a big menu I can select from when I’m avoiding something. 🙂 My funniest is that it suddenly seems urgent to pick the dying blooms off all my petunias in the backyard…which leads to watering the flowers…which leads to needing to mow the lawn…which leads to a nice glass of wine on the swing…

  6. Kim on the 18th June

    I call it procrasturbating, and rationalize it under “research.” I do about 5 hours of “research” on Fark each day.

    • Brandscaping on the 18th June

      Procrasturbating may have just become my new favorite word.

      thank you for sharing it!

  7. WebGuide4U on the 18th June

    No fixed time to do anything but time to get energized the enthu i have and the eagerness towards work. Well sometimes need a powernap between working time otherwise a busy day

  8. Ken Kurosawa on the 18th June

    What works for me is having iCal open on my second monitor so when I get lost at YouTube or anything else, the calendar is always a glance away to slap myself back into the thick of things.

  9. Lee Peterson on the 18th June

    I read this hoping to find an answer to this issue.

    Now I’m going to scour the web trying to find a way to get myself back on track. 😉

    • Brandscaping on the 18th June

      sounds like maybe there’s a need for another article – I’ll propose it to the bosses!

      thanks for reading and commenting – hope it’s not pulling you away from anything too daunting.


  10. Gaye WIlson on the 18th June


    You are SOOOO not the only one to do this! I felt like you were describing me in this post.

    I keep reminding myself to go to my blog and read my own productivity posts ( The technique that is probably most useful in this situation is the BUT technique ( Ask yourself “What is the Best Use of my Time right now?”

    If all else fails, ask someone to be your accountability coach – someone who will nag you until you get it done.

    Good luck!

  11. Jay on the 21st June

    “So what do you do to avoid doing what you should be doing, and how do you get yourself back on track?”

    I attempt to set up procrastination time limits. “At 10 am I will stop posting relies on WA and get back to that spreadsheet” or “As soon as I’m done with this cup of coffee, I’ll start my day.” (key word there is “attempt”…not always easy to do, but it helps).

    I also find that setting personal deadlines on projects that do NOT have deadlines is a good idea. “By tomorrow at 3 pm, I will have gone through the procedure files”.

    PS- so glad to hear I’m not the only one!

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