It’s likely that your to-do list is missing things like “get hypnotized by StumbleUpon,” “watch Cosby reruns,” and “play Angry Birds.” After all, these are not productive things, so they shouldn’t be queued up in your productivity system. Am I right, or am I right?
That’s certainly the implicit conventional wisdom of our day. Actually, it's more of a conventional self ruse.
If you find that you’re frequently having unplanned fun during times when you should be getting stuff done, then on some level, you’re bumping these activities up on your priority list anyway. You know—the real one in your head that overrides the figurehead list on your screen.
Most would say that this is symptom of procrastination, but I think that’s a misdiagnosis. Here’s the thing: Indulgence is going to happen despite your best efforts to stamp it out. Leaving it off your to-do list won’t stop it from happening.
Go ahead, schedule time to be wasted
I think that accepting a little time-wasting into your workflow can go light years in boosting productivity, if only because you’re corralling it into defined time spaces.
If you find that you’re often engaging in low-brain power, fun activities during times when you’d rather be more productive, try scheduling fun things. Make them a task, put them on your calendar, or do whatever it takes to align pleasure with productivity.
You’ll probably find that seeing some fun on your list makes it easier to focus on the here and now. You'll see your true dashboard. And it gives your mind permission to have some fun if you just grind through the next 30 minutes or so.
It’s okay to have some dessert before you finish all your veggies, especially if you end up eating more veggies.