How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion]

unproductive icon   How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion]When you fall asleep at night, do you ever think to yourself “Today I accomplished way too much in far too short a time span?” Don’t be embarrassed: the Internet’s made us all alarmingly productive. It can be frightening at times.

Did you know, however, that the Internet can also make you alarmingly unproductive? It’s true! It may be hard to believe, but constant access to all the world’s information – from the average flight velocity of an African swallow to what the girl you had a crush on in college is doing right at this moment – causes some people to get less work done instead of more.

If you’d like to become less productive, you’re off to a great start. Reading random blog posts about productivity instead of actually working is a great way to get less done. But there’s so much more to doing next to nothing than simply not working; it’s an art. Do it well and you’ll still feel burnt out after an entire day of slacking.

Curious? Keep reading. I’ll outline everything you need to know to accomplish practically nothing.

1. Multitasking!

If you really want to be unproductive, it’s imperative that you don’t focus on any one task for longer than a couple of minutes. Switching from doing one thing to another constantly can help ensure that you effectively get nothing done over the course of an entire day.

unproductive todo   How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion]

Start the day by creating a to-do list no human being could ever hope to accomplish. Then switch from one task to the other every minute or so, all the while reflecting on how busy you are and how you’re never going to get any of these tasks done. For best results set up multiple monitors, each containing a different task. This will increase your awareness of the sheer amount of work you need to get done, and how unlikely it is that you will ever complete any of it.

Be sure to take a fifteen minute break every five minutes.

2. Notifications!

Multitasking becomes particularly unproductive if some of “tasks” you’re switching to are unrelated to work – Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit are all great choices. Even better is to find something related to work, yet still endlessly distracting – email, for example. Every time you check your email it feels like you’re working, even if you’re mostly not getting anything done at all. That feeling is the true key to being unproductive, because it burns you out without the rewarding feeling of accomplishment that comes when you actually do something.

Try as you may, however, sometimes a useful task may seem so compelling that you sit down for an hour and do nothing else, producing quality work that you’re proud of. Don’t fall into this common productivity trap: use notifications to automatically break any focus you might accidentally muster.

Thunderbird Email Notification   How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion]

Set up your computer with plenty of popups, reminding you that stuff is happening on the Internet. Used properly, these notifications can help ensure you never focus on work long enough to actually get anything done. Fortunately, all of the major social networks derive their revenue from advertising, meaning they all want you to spend as much time looking at their site as possible. Google even added Plus notifications to almost all of their products, ensuring you’ll never miss a meaningless tidbit of information from someone you sort of know.

Basically: read this article about turning off notifications. Do the opposite of what it says. Then download every program with notifications you can get your hands on.

For best results, also set up push notifications for email and all of your social networks on your phone. This will keep you in the habit of constantly responding to notifications, even when you’re away from your computer. This Pavlovian programming can be remarkably effective in training you to ignore the task at hand and quickly give in to impulses.

3. Undeserved Rewards!

The best way to ensure a child is a complete and total brat isn’t to give that child everything he could possibly want: it’s to tell the child he needs to do something in order to get a reward – clean his room, take out the trash or not rub butter into the carpet – and give him the reward regardless of whether the task is completed or not. This total lack of consequence will teach a child that what you do in life does not matter: things will always be awesome, no matter what.

productivity   How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion]

You can apply this same basic principle to becoming unproductive. Think of a small reward for yourself – a coffee break, a walk outside, a chocolate bar or some time to watch an online video. Tell yourself you’ll only earn that reward by getting your work done. Then look at your email and social networks for an hour or two, getting nothing done, and – this is the real trick – give yourself the reward anyway. This will get you in the habit of not doing anything, ensuring you remain unproductive.

4. Procrastination!

When you give yourself your reward, tell yourself you’ll make up for time lost by working late into the night. Then, when time comes to work late into the night, continue fruitlessly attempting to multitask and dwelling on how you will never get anything done, because you are too busy, all the while immediately responding to every notification from your email and social networks.

When midnight comes you can go to bed, knowing that you’ve accomplished next to nothing yet still feel exhausted. A few weeks of this and you’ll completely burn yourself out, helping ensure you never have another productive day in your life.

Have any other tips for becoming completely unproductive? Leave them in the comments below.

duty calls   How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion]

Note: leaving angry comments on blog posts is a another great way to burn yourself out whilst avoiding actual work.

Image Credit: Burning clock image by Mikhail via ShutterStock, “Wrong on the Internet” comic by XKCD, Getting Crap Done

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23 Comments -

0 votes

Dylan Wilson

You sir, have written a masterpiece.
This must be the biography of Steve Gates, who aspired to be the successor to Bill and Jobs by multitasking as much as possible! making sure to make his multitasking more efficient by stopping and reading articles on multitasking!

0 votes

Justin Pot

Say what you will about Steve Gates: my iZune is amazing.

0 votes

Achraf52

Make sure you read every article on how to get more productive, rather than doing your work .

0 votes

Justin Pot

This is a key point, and I’m glad you pointed it out. Make sure to stay away from books on productivity, however, because they require you to focus on them long enough to realize your mistakes. Stick instead to blog posts based on blog posts based on blog posts based on a newspaper article based on a book; the Internet will filter out any content that might actually help you be productive.

0 votes

Achraf Almouloudi

Read again my first comment, I mean that even those simple posts would waste your time, but if you buy books, you did rather waste money and time, doing nothing .

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Brilliant. Ironically, I read this when I should be writing today’s article.

0 votes

Justin Pot

I hope you got it done at the last second, and that it was substandard. Because that is the way to the unproductive.

0 votes

Devhie

Bahh a volte non vi capisco qusete a mio parere sono immagini in game precalcolate, e della Wii.Anche perch un fottuto 360 fa decisamente di meglio.finalmente qualcosa di veramente decente a livello tecnico. Mario Galaxy e molto curato come titolo, ma altrettanto poco ricco di particolari e nemici su schermo. ma questo e voluto ovviamente come tutti i mario in 3D.Niente di cui sbalordirsi, e quello che avrebbero dovuto fare dall’inizio.Anche se devo ancora papire come ditte come la Capcom che ha sfornato RE4 su Gamecube, non riesca a proporre un titolo devente a distanza di 3 anni sulla Wii, contando che il Kit di sviluppo sostanzialmente e lo stesso.

0 votes

A.Noni Mouse

Filling out this comment form is a valuable use of my time…
Attempting to improve on the above article’s perfection would abuse even more of my time.. I’m thinkin’ some useless recursive iteration would consume an endless amount of one’s extra spare time… but then what would I know? ^_^
Note: my redundant use of the word “time” makes me think that I’m multitasking…

0 votes

A.Noni Mouse

Filling out this comment form is a valuable use of my time…
Attempting to improve on the above article’s perfection would abuse even more of my time.. I’m thinkin’ some useless recursive iteration would consume an endless amount of one’s extra spare time… but then what would I know? ^_^
Note: my redundant use of the word “time” makes me think that I’m multitasking…

0 votes

A. Noni Mouse

Filling out this comment form is a valuable use of my time…
Attempting to improve on the above article’s perfection would abuse even more of my time.. I’m thinkin’ some useless recursive iteration would consume an endless amount of one’s extra spare time… but then what would I know? ^_^
Note: my redundant use of the word “time” makes me think that I’m multitasking…

0 votes

Justin Pot

Posting this comment three times was a great use of your time. Good work!

0 votes

Krishnapriya

Though I don’t understand the point of publishing such an article, I wish to say that I like your second task ;)

0 votes

Justin Pot

The Internet isn’t going to fill itself up with articles! Also: I’m on it, just as soon as I learn German.

I’m so busy.

0 votes

Andrea Ippolito

Great stuff, very funny! :)

This in particular made me LOL:
“Try as you may, however, sometimes a useful task may seem so compelling that you sit down for an hour and do nothing else, producing quality work that you’re proud of. Don’t fall into this common productivity trap: use notifications to automatically break any focus you might accidentally muster.”

0 votes

Justin Pot

I don’t know what’s so funny about that. Staying unproductive is important, particularly if our advertising-based Internet economy is to remain sustainable.

0 votes

Glynn Sole

Thanks for wasting my time. I’m already an expert and didn’t need your help in timewasting.

0 votes

Justin Pot

Commenting on an article to tell the writer not that you disagree but that the article itself is useless because of how smart you are…you’re a master at this!

0 votes

Glynn Sole

Oh no! Now I’ve shared this on Facebook I’ll have to keep going back there to see if anybody commented on it.

0 votes

Justin Pot

Again: I’m in awe.

0 votes

cash machine.com

Hello there, I discovered your blog via Google whilst looking for a similar matter, your site came up, it appears to be like good. I’ve bookmarked to my favourites|added to my bookmarks.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Wow, how did I miss this one? Brilliant.

“Every time you check your email it feels like you’re working, even if you’re mostly not getting anything done at all.”

It’s hard work keeping up with all the nonsense on the MakeUseOf authors mailing list!

0 votes

Eserpess Eserpess

My Boyfriend is one of the most procrastination person out there. and I linked this to his Facebook profile. LOL