Sometimes you need to take a break from work, but you don’t want to just waste time doing nothing at all. Productive procrastination is a great in-between solution.
Distractions, side projects, and procrastination are all great for your general productivity, but you have to do it right. Speaking with Nautilus, researcher James Bursley suggests that "You want a distractor that's pretty far away from what you want to process unconsciously." So, if you're a writer, you probably shouldn't write, or if you're a coder, you shouldn't code.
Here are some suggestions for ways to "productively procrastinate" that fill the 5-15 minute range.
Spend 15 Minutes Working On A Side Project
Side projects are an awesome way to learn new skills, but it's hard to find the time to do them. So, instead of trying to set aside an entire day to learning something, do it during those blocks of time when you're procrastinating from other projects. 15 minutes a day might not seem like much, but you'll be surprised at how much you can get done in that amount of time. This is especially good if your side projects are very different to your regular job.
Clean Small Sections Of Your House
Most of us don't love to clean, so doing it in small bursts when you're stuck on something is a great way to step away from work and check off an item on your to-do list. The key here is to take on small cleaning projects. Don't clean your whole house from top to bottom. Instead, take five minutes to clean the sink, wipe down the stovetop, or tidy up your bedroom. Personally, I enjoy the monotony of cleaning, especially if I'm working on a creative project of some kind. It gives me the space to not think too much, but still accomplish something. I usually go for the kitchen once a day, but that's mostly because if I don't, the fruit flies appear in full force.
Learn A New Language
You certainly can't just learn a new language in a few minutes a day, but you can start on the foundation by learning vocabulary. With the right apps, it's easy to step away from your work for few minutes and spend your brain energy in a new way by learning simple vocabulary. This way, you can memorise short phrases and words so you have a better understanding of the language as a whole when you have time to really dig in. Really, it works for any type of flashcard-style learning you might be doing.
Clean Up Your Finances
Most people aren't keen to take the time to reconcile their bank account or sort through their receipts, so those little blocks of unproductive moments during your work day are great for this. Just step away from your desk for a few minutes and do some finance maintenance. You'll end up with a better idea of what you're spending your money on, and you'll give your brain the break it needs to keep being productive. I find this weirdly relaxing, but I know plenty of people might see it as stressful, so take this one as you see fit.
What are your best ways for procrastinating productively? Let's hear them in the comments.