THE_BLOG

6 Ways to Be Less Productive and Be Happier for It

Well, I've decided to give myself some time off from being productive. And I think you should too. Here are the best ways, in my experience, to get less out of your day and be happier for it.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

My girlfriend says I'm all talk. In the past year, I have:

  • bought a new bicycle and rode it once
  • bought a guitar and learned half a song ('Three Little Birds' by Bob Marley, if you're interested)
  • Bought two gym memberships, putting in less miles on the treadmill than I do walking to my kitchen to get a snack.

It's a familiar routine. Ill turn to my patient partner, eyes wide with ambition, and explain how I'm going to start running every day, or give up carbs, or start writing (the one thing I've stuck to).

Well, I've decided to give myself some time off from being productive. And I think you should too. Here are the best ways, in my experience, to get less out of your day and be happier for it.

1. Make yourself unaccountable.

It's important that you tell nobody of your plans for the day. Not even your dog. That new diet you're starting? Keep it to yourself. That way when you have those Oreos later, you can skip the self-pity and the guilt, and concentrate on the chocolatey deliciousness.

2. Set Wildly Optimistic, Unachievable Goals.

Or better yet, set no goals at all. If you must have something to aim for, you could try to drop a dress size in a day, or watch just one episode of a boxset without binge-watching ten. I tried this with Battlestar Galactica. Big frakking mistake.

3. Say yes to every meeting request in work.

Meetings are fun. Plan a whole day of them. Never discuss things by email when a meeting will do. If you're chairing the meeting, grant extra time to those speakers who dance merrily around the point. Allow yourself to indulge their florid use of language without managing to say anything of value whatsoever.

4. Get up after 9am.

This is a particular favourite of mine, one that I used a lot in college. By the time you're dressed, it's almost lunch. When you've had your well-deserved nap after lunch, its dinner time. Rinse and repeat until your jeans begun to feel snug. Only then do you leave the house. To buy bigger jeans.

5. Write a to-do list.

It's important that you colour-code all your outstanding tasks. Once complete, please be sure to alphabetise these. Then assign each task with a risk rating. Be sure to resize the font and format the layout. Send the list out to your work colleagues, have them quality assure it and provide comments. Arrange a conference call at which these comments can be discussed. Finally, set a deadline one week from this date. Only then do you consider carrying out these tasks.

6. Eliminate Distractions

Work colleagues present a threat to your meagre productivity. Stay away from them. Quench the possibility of reading an e-mail by leaving your office computer in standby mode. If you see your boss coming towards you, dive under the desk and wait until the coast is clear before re-emerging. If all these fail, quit your job*.

These are the things I've learned. I hope they help you as much as I've helped me.

*Please don't quit your job.