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Are You Busy Procrastiworking?

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano

Throughout the years we’ve been writing articles for The Joshua Group blog, we’ve discussed a handful of new-age terms trending in the work world (quiet quitting or LITO, for instance), as well as some more obscure ones (see here for what cruft is, exactly). And – of course – we had to make up a few of our own along the way, too (see: the avocado paradox).

However, a new term trending on Fast Company this month caught our attention: procrastiworking.

Think of it like this: You have a looming deadline for a daunting project. It’ll require your full attention and hours – or days, weeks, or months! – of devotion. So, instead, you choose to answer emails or check voicemails or, perhaps, perform any- and every other possible task on your to-do list. You opt to engage in activities that aren’t exactly time-wasters, but also aren’t what you need to be doing. This is procrastiworking.

Unlike procrastinating, procrastiworking can often slip by unnoticed, as we still feel productive in what we’re doing. After all, answering emails or finishing paperwork certainly aren’t the same as watching TV. However, they are, by definition still procrastinating, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to put off intentionally something that needs to be done.” At the end of the day, what needs to get accomplished isn’t – whether you’re performing another work task, washing the dishes, or scrolling Instagram.

To live your most productive life, here are our top tips on how to stop procrastiworking in its tracks:

  1. Write out your to-do list every night or every morning. Depending on when you feel most energized, use this time (either before the busyness of the day takes over, or after it has subsided) to lay out everything you have to do for the subsequent day. Bonus points for noting the estimated time of each activity and when you plan to accomplish it.

  2. Identify how you procrastiwork: As we mentioned, procrastiworking is sneaky! It can go by undetected, disguised as “busyness.” Pay attention to your habits and how you tend to procrastiwork. When you know your habits, it can be easier to catch yourself and correct yourself.

  3. Put barriers in place. Once you know how you tend to procrastiwork, think through tangible steps that can create a barrier between you and that action. If your tendency is to check your email rather than stay engaged in a challenging task, turn off your inbox connectivity for an hour. If you default to checking your phone, put it out of the room. If you’re drawn to chat with colleagues, put yourself on DND. Whatever you need to do, use technology as an advantage, rather than a temptation.

  4. Reward yourself along the way. One of the biggest triggers for procrastiwork is a task that is so big that we can’t see the end in sight. So, instead, we opt to complete tasks we can check-off immediately. If you have a similarly big goal, schedule checkpoints along the way to celebrate! And, of course, involve others in the party, as this applies to individual and team tasks alike.

If you need help becoming a more effective leader, reach out to us at!

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