Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / DEC. 06, 2015
version 8, draft 8

What is the Actual Breakdown of Your Unproductive Day

You know that you are not the most productive person at work and that you waste a lot of time on the job, but it’s never been as clear as when you actually sat down to tally the totals. 

See Also: Why Procrastination Is A Good Thing

If you work for a boss, wasting your time at work might not make a difference to your paycheck, which is why you are so willing to procrastinate as much as possible, but it can make you look like a lout. If you work for yourself, you might find that being unproductive means no money and that’s definitely bad.

So what to do about it all? 

The first step is to write it down and take a good look at all the gory details. Then you can figure out what else to do to stop being so dang unproductive. 

6 AM - Pain

Alarm goes off for the first time. Hit snooze and go back to dreaming of kicking back on a warm beach while your personal massage therapist waits for your next missive. 

6:15 AM - Confusion 

Alarm goes off for the second time. Hit snooze and start dreaming - only this time it’s your boss who’s waiting by your side while you relax in that lounge chair. 

6:30 AM - Peace 

Alarm. Snooze. Bad dreams.

6:45 AM - Tranquility  

Alarm. Forget to hit snooze. 

7:26 AM - Panic

Wake up in a hurry, realizing that you’ve slept through your alarm yet again. Forget the shower. Put on deodorant, brush your hair and teeth and slap on the outfit least wrinkled from your closet. 

7:45 AM - Stress 

Race out the door and stress on the entire commute. 

8:15 AM - Embarrassment  

Arrive late to work, just in time to catch the last few minutes of the staff meeting-the only meeting that you- and all of the other people with whom you work are required to attend. You make eye contact with your boss and make an apologetic shrugging motion with your upper body. Your boss, meanwhile, takes a not-so-subtle glance at the clock on the wall. Is it Johnny’s latest boring speech your boss is timing, or is he looking at the clock to confirm that you are the employee who’s arrived last, yet again? It’s hard to tell, but you’re already sweating through that thin layer of deodorant you applied before leaving the house. 

8:45 AM - Email Time #1  

Start poring over the emails that have come in since your last check at 10 o’clock last night. You start with the work-related ones about upcoming meetings, sales calls, deadlines you have to note and so on, but the tackling of your new email soon devolves into reading a friend’s heartfelt email to his friends and family, telling everyone about his latest trip to Central America and how everyone should quit their jobs, as he’s done, and travel the world while they still can. You totally get it, but alas, you’re still at work. 

9:30 AM - Coffee Break 

You IM your co-worker who works across the office to meet you in the break room so you can catch up on the details of her latest date. It apparently went very well. 

10 AM - Boss Meeting  

You return to your desk to an IM from your boss, asking you to stop by his office. You spend a few moments collecting your thoughts and making up excuses as to why you were late and why you’re forced to be late nearly every morning. You wonder whether “I have a bad alarm” is a good excuse. 

10:30 AM - Work Time! 

Get back to your desk after a meeting with the boss. He didn’t want to talk about your chronic tardiness; instead he wanted your advice about which of the receptionist candidates you’d interviewed with him last week was cutest, and therefore which one he should hire. He invited you to have a glass of Scotch to mull it over, but you declined. You have work to do. 

11:00 AM - Email Check #2

Second email check of the day. You put out a couple fires to keep clients off your back and then get caught up on the response emails your traveling friend’s friends have sent in response to his heartfelt email. Don’t they know about “Reply” versus “Reply All?” 

11:30 AM - File Management 

Thirty minutes of re-organizing your client files should constitute as a productive morning, right? 

12 NOON - Lunch! 

Lunch time. You keep saying you’re going to bring your running shoes to work and start spending a half hour each day running around the office park, but so far, you’ve only gotten as far as buying some cute running pants from a sale you found over your lunch break last week. For now, lunch still consists of driving over to the Indian buffet or the Thai place with a couple co-workers, where you all unwind by bitching about one of your managers. 

1 PM - Acting Like an Adult  

Work time! You get a few client calls made, but then one of the ladies in the front office makes an announcement that everyone should come to the front office to help celebrate the boss’ birthday. There will be cake! But wait -you spent a half hour in the boss’ office this morning and you never wished him a happy birthday. Is that bad? Were you supposed to know?

1:30 PM - Busy Work  

Change your voicemail. Check your LinkedIn for new prospects. Update your Twitter feed so it doesn’t look stale.

2 PM - Guilt Trip 

You sneak out of the office over your afternoon break to go buy a card for the boss. You’ll put it in his mailbox to make it look like you didn’t forget at all. 

2:30 PM - Deliverance 

The front desk ladies give you a funny look when you come in a half hour after your 15-minute break started. You ignore them and head for the mail room. 

3:00 PM - Return Some Calls 

Two clients have called while you were out, so you call them to check on them. You pride yourself on delivering some of the best customer service around -though your clients don’t need to know that you usually arrive late, go home early and have the lightest caseload of anyone on your team. In fact you’re hoping nobody notices that. 

4:00 PM - Email Check #3 

Time for one last check of your email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest -all for work purposes, of course. 

4:30 PM - Bounce  

You already told your boss last week that you’d need to leave early today for personal reasons -the personal reasons being that when you leave at 5 you encounter horrible traffic that has you home half an hour later than you should be. If your boss asks, you’re planning to explain that for the sake of your mental health, you have to leave at this time. You’ve been diligently working all day, after all, and you tell your boss that you know he’ll support you staying healthy so you can continue doing the great job you’re doing. 

5 PM - You Survived 

Arrive home, drop your briefcase at the door, and neglect to look at any of the “homework” you promised yourself you’d catch up on while watching your favorite program on TV.


See Also: Top 10 Most Famous Procrastinators in the World

So there you have it, the breakdown of an unproductive day. If your assessment of your own situation sounds like that, then you’d better be thanking your lucky stars that you work for someone else and not for yourself.

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