Procrastinate Smarter at Work

Multitasking makes us more stupid. Studies show it. In fact, The University of Utah claims that using a cell phone while driving reduces reaction time by just as much if the driver had a blood alcohol level of at least .08%. While there’s enough evidence to support that multitasking hinders more than it helps, there still seems to be a common assumption that it is the key to productivity.

If it was left up to our own personal opinions, we’d all think we’re able to pitch a client on an idea while simultaneously juggling three bowling pins on top of a balance beam…that’s surrounded by a circle of fire. While all this is going on you’re also trading stocks from your iPhone and preparing handmade sushi (spicy salmon of course).

What multitasking is really code for in the corporate world: Procrastination.  While we wish we could multitask like that guy in the first paragraph, what we’re really doing is trying to keep up with the speed of interactivity. The work emails, IM’s, text messages, Facebook notifications, Foursquare Checkins, Instagram uploads (“this filter, no this filter, ah, this is the one”). We think we’re getting more done by keeping up with the demands of everyday life, when in reality multitasking is really just another, uglier form of procrastination. Multitasking leads to stress, inhibits creative ability, creates difficulty problem solving, and slows thinking.

Here’s a general rule of thumb on if your “multitasking” is decreasing your work productivity: If you’re right hand is working harder than your left hand, constantly hovering on that track pad or mouse, you’re doing a lot of consuming, not creating. If you were creating, you’d typically have both hands on the keyboard.  At that point, it’s time to stop telling yourself to multi-task and procrastinate smarter, starting with these tactics.

Tidy up the Office Kitchen

Cleaning with a sense of purpose is a great stress management technique. Whether it’s the office kitchen (the favor will be appreciated) your office or cube, cleaning will leave you more relaxed than before.  Clutter leads to dissatisfaction and is a visual reminder of all the work that needs to be done.

Say Hello to a Co-Worker

Preferably one you don’t know very well. Most offices have some type of internal IM system in place. Forget about getting to know people on that. Pick up those legs and walk over to a new employee’s cube or say hi to senior team member you’ve been dying to make an impression on. You’ll feel happier after a good conversation and hopefully +1 in the friend category.


You’re not going to get any results from perusing your Facebook news feed. Do something useful. You may be cubicle bound but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on your legs, arms, and abs.  From a cubicle dip to a desk chair swivel, there’s easy exercises for everyone. I’ll work on a follow up post with some of my favorite desk exercises.

The key is to always find a way to work while you’re working, even if you’re not producing actual work. It keeps your mind focused instead of distracted from what your unread Groupon deal email, ex’s Twitter stream, Deadspin news, or Perez Hilton gossip has to offer.

How do you procrastinate smarter at work?

Wiley Cerilli | What It Feels Like To Wake Up At 32 With Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

A few weeks ago, 32-year-old entrepreneur Wiley Cerilli sat down with his wife. He told her an email company, Constant Contact, wanted to acquire his two-year-old startup, Single Platform, for $100 million.

The couple came up with a list of things to buy and do if the deal went through:

Get a new washer and dryer

Mount the TV

Buy new socks

“We couldn’t think of anything else we really need,” he said.

Last week, the $100 million acquisition was finalized — $65 million in cash up front with the ability to earn up to $30 million more over the next two years.

As a sole founder who had only raised $4.5 million from outside investors, Cerilli suddenly became a very rich man.

We met up with Cerilli and Single Platform’s executive team on Wednesday night, just after the money hit their bank accounts.

We asked, “How does it feel to be absolutely loaded?”

“It doesn’t seem real,” he replied.

Here’s Cerilli’s story.


“…no one comes up from the basement playing perfectly.” – David Byrne, musician, artist

Mastery is a process, not an event.  It’s about day-in and day-out efforts – the practice, the honing of knowledge and skills, the trials, errors, and eventually getting it right.

You have to start – somewhere, somehow – to reach that level of mastery and excellence. Becoming remarkable doesn’t just show up – it evolves as you evolve, as you move forward.

Your challenge, today, is to start, one more time;  to continue the evolution, to continue, today and every day, the progressive realization of your dreams.

Love your life, perfect your life.

Time to make magic

“People who wait for a magic wand fail to see that they ARE the magic wand.” – Thomas Leonard

Recognize that you are in charge of you – your future, your everything.  There is no fairy godmother, no genie in the lamp, no wizard in the land of Oz. It’s up to you, only you, to nurture your dreams, pick your goals, build your plans, and then go after what you want.

When you’re not satisfied with where you are, when you stoke the burning desire to be in a better place, when you’re willing to get uncomfortable, step forward and enlist the resources of the universe – that’s when the real magic happens.

Man Dies Having Never Really Lived | Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

How To Live Before You Die | Steve Jobs

Stanford University, 2005

Steve Jobs
CEO, Apple and Pixar Animation

Truth be told, I never graduated from college…

Today I want to tell you three stories from my life…

Continue reading How To Live Before You Die | Steve Jobs

Leonard Lauder | Success Advice from Successul People

Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies

The best advice I ever got came from my mother, Estée Lauder: She believed that if you had something good to say, you should put it in writing. But if you had something bad to say, you should tell the person to his or her face.

I learned this lesson the hard way. I’m chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and several years ago, I was angry with one of my trustees. I wrote a letter and signed it. But then I decided not to send the letter, and left it on my desk over the weekend. The following Monday I was out of the office, when a temp saw the letter and mailed it. The trustee got very angry and resigned from the board. To this day, writing that letter is something that I regret.

Tony Robbins | Success Advice from Successful People

Performance coach

In 1979, when I was 19, I had all these people giving me conflicting advice. Jim Rohn, a personal-development speaker, said, ‘Tony, think about it this way. If your worst enemy drops sugar in your coffee, what’s going to happen to you? Nothing. But what if your best friend drops strychnine in your coffee? You’re dead. You have to stand guard at the door of your mind.” He was saying that the selection of [my friends and advisors] will matter more than anything else, and that you can’t take anybody’s approach as sacrosanct.

Michael Bloomberg | Success Advice from Successful People

Mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg LP

I can’t remember who told me this, but I certainly didn’t grow up knowing it, so I must have gotten this advice at Salomon Brothers in the 1970s. The advice was, first, always ask for the order, and second, when the customer says yes, stop talking. I have watched more people make great presentations, whether they’re trying to sell to their family or in business or in government, and never get to the point of what they’re trying to get out of it. And too many times when the customer says yes, the person who got that answer just doesn’t stop talking. Worst advice? The worst advice that people can take is to react before they’ve had a chance to think. I think we all say things and wish we hadn’t said them. Ready, shoot, aim is not the smartest policy.

Favorable Conditions Never Come

“If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”
-C.S. Lewis