As more people join the work-from-home bandwagon, they’re starting to see that remote work is not the beautiful rose garden they once thought it was. In fact, working from home is often more difficult than working in an office. It is too easy to go take a nap when work becomes frustrating or to find yourself on lunch for three hours. Next thing you know, it’s 10 PM and you have achieved a whole lot of nothing.
This happens even to the most experienced remote workers — including myself. However, I have found my own way to tackle the issue. I only have so many hours in a day and I keep strict deadlines, so I procrastinate by doing other productive things. Here are five of my favorite ways to productively waste time.
1. Getting My Steps In
A few weeks ago, I wrote How to Get That Workout in When the Gym Is Off Limits. Elizabeth Slaughter then told me how about under-desk units you can buy to pedal while you work. It sounded like a great idea, but I have a Fitbit and want to get credit for my steps. So, instead, I bought this contraption:
It weighs less than 15 lbs pounds and stows away easily under my couch. When I tire of writing, I pull this out and catch up on my steps for the day. Sometimes I print the article for editing and use this while proofreading.
2. Cleaning the House
A week after COVID-19 changed our lives as we know it, I wrote about the precautions I take as a high-risk person. My mom might tell you this is only the tip of the iceberg. She is convinced that she’s sending me to a shrink after COVID-19 ends to have me evaluated for my obsession with cleaning.
However, the truth is, the cleanliness of my apartment generally correlates with how much I have procrastinated that day. That’s because, when I need a mental break from writing for banks, lawyers and medical facilities, I do any of the following things:
- Disinfect the high-touch areas in the home.
- Vacuum the tiny living room rug as it never stays clean.
- Wash any dishes left in the sink.
- Do the laundry.
- Put things away.
3. Grooming the Cat
Shadow had his very first and only hairball a few weeks ago and I feel absolutely terrible about it. Cats get hairballs from grooming themselves, so if you groom them well, you eliminate the chances. Shadow was in full winter coat until recently and I didn’t restart his grooming schedule in time to save him.
Subsequently, grooming is now one of my favourite ways to procrastinate. Shadow loves attention, so he makes no complaints. This is a video from 2018, but you can see how excited he gets about groom days. Feel free to skip to the end to see how much fur I get off him!
4. Business Accounting
When I was in university, every year, I had straight A grades … and then, there was accounting. Funny enough, after I graduated, I went on to work in accounting. My day job before I quit to travel and write in 2015 was as a payroll tax analyst. During that time, 90% of my job was staring at spreadsheets and doing calculations. I was pretty good at it and took those skills into accounting for my own business.
I now do all my business’ accounting minus filing my own taxes. When I tire of working, I go balance the books. I find sometimes calculations are less mentally tiring than using up my creative energy. University-me would think 30-year-old me has lost her mind, but it’s the truth.
5. Getting On Twitter
Twitter is the number one way I waste time that I should spend working. However, as a lifestyle blogger, any time spent on social media is an investment in my own personal brand — or so I tell myself. I can objectively say, however, that the more time I spend on Twitter the more inclined people are to read my blog posts, share them and comment. My book sales are also higher.
Why is that? There are many authors and business people online who spend their entire time selling to other people. They forget that the point of social media is to be social. I tweet about so many other things that my books and business don’t provoke the eyeroll that other people’s promotional posts might.
When working from home, it’s a good idea to try to waste your time on things you need to get done anyway. That way, when you fall behind on work, you don’t fall behind on anything else.
What are some of the ways you waste time when working from home — productive or not? Share them with me in the comments below!