A new sweary web tool is designed to stop you procrastinating. So shut down Candy Crush and read on, says Amy Dawson…
Go F***ing Work, a bluntly titled new web extension, has been launched to help our nation of chronic procrastinators stop doing, well, just that. The internet version of an angry boot camp sergeant major, but with added sass, it rebukes you with a sweary, shouty message every time you try to deviate from the task in hand to check the football results, the sidebar of shame or that eBay vintage dress you had your eye on.
It’s a neat idea but why now? Well, we’re working longer hours than ever but getting less actual work done, says a new survey from think tank the Smith Institute, which found that work productivity in the UK has declined over the past two years, even as the daily grind has stretched out. The reason? Epic levels of internetenabled procrastination and a chronic inability to focus our nerve-jangled modern brains are surely to blame.
Last year a YouGov study found that adults in the UK spend an average of 218 minutes procrastinating every day – that adds up to a terrifying 55 days in a year. Wouldn’t it be better to get the job done on time, so we can get on with actually having a life? Here are some key ways to help you focus.
Try some concentration music
Unless you’re a librarian, a monk or a nun, chances are your office is pretty noisy. Block out water cooler conversations with some special focus-improving music (normal music will probably just be more distracting – who hasn’t accidentally started to type out the lyrics to Beyoncé?). Noisli.com is a great site that enables you to pick’n’mix the sounds of waves, wind, crackling fires and even rumbling trains into whatever combination you find the most rewarding.
Lists are your friend
‘Start each day by making a to-do list and prioritise each task,’ says business wellbeing professional Nicki Cresswell. ‘Then try to get into the habit of tackling a high-priority task first. Chances are the high-priority task is the one you’d normally try to delay. Most importantly, focus on one task at a time – don’t move on to the next until each is completed.’
Visualise, or self-bribe
‘Acknowledge that the task is something you don’t enjoy but ask yourself how you’ll feel (eg proud, relieved, amazing) when it’s done,’ suggests life coach Jo Emerson. ‘This can often be motivation enough to get on with the task in hand because you’ve given your brain a guaranteed “reward feeling” at the end. Failing that, plan to have a cream bun, a bath, a trip to the movies or an afternoon snooze once you’ve achieved whatever it is that’s ahead of you.’
Train your brain
Mindfulness and meditation are sure-fire ways to de-clutter a brain bursting at the seams and to teach yourself to concentrate on the here and now. Apps like Headspace and Anamaya make it easy to get started, even with just five minutes a day.
Shake it off
Great American author Herman Melville supposedly had his wife chain him to his desk (literally) when he was struggling to finish epic novel Moby Dick. But it turns out this might not be the best approach – it’s actually helpful to move about to get your focus back. ‘When we procrastinate, our brain goes into “freeze” mode – it’s hard to think straight or snap out of it,’ says
Karen Meager, managing director of Monkey Puzzle Training. ‘If you can, do something to get yourself out of that feeling – make a cuppa, go to the toilet, have a walk around the room. Any movement will help get you out of stuck mode.’
To install Go F***ing Work on your browser, visit chrome.google.com
POTTY MOUTHED MOTIVATION
What with WhatsApp groups, thousands of emails pouring in every day and my obsession with Airbnb treehouses, I often find it impossible to truly wrap my brain around the task in hand. So I’m eager to try this new Chrome extension and it’s simple even for a Luddite like me to install and block the sites I know I have a problem with. Facebook is my most hated time-waster and I’m shocked by how often I unthinkingly try to click on to it, to be greeted by messages like ‘WORK YOU F***ITY F***’. It’s absolutely hilarious, but also scary enough to prod me into pulling my socks up – a bit like having The Thick Of It’s Malcolm Tucker breathing over my shoulder. But I often need access to sites like Twitter for work and it’s clear I can’t rely on the extension. Still, I suspect Go F***ing Work will be my pottymouthed desktop chum for some time to come – especially as I can’t work out how to remove it.