The average entrepreneur’s “to do” list is about 15 miles long, and the first mile and a half includes all of the tasks that needed to be done yesterday. Although we’ve all been told to eat the frog first, it’s usually much more enjoyable to find new and exciting ways to procrastinate instead.
It’s natural to lose focus occasionally, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your dwindling attention rob you of the time that you could spend making your business succeed. In fact, there are tons of ways to be productive at work – even if you happen to be procrastinating.
20 Ways to Procrastinate While Still Being Productive:
1. Answer Quora Questions.
Give expert advice to users who post queries related to your field on Quora. This is an excellent way to boost your professional image, network with others in your industry and score some backlinks to your site or blog (just make sure they’re extremely relevant so you aren’t accused of spamming).
2. Learn From the Greats.
Create a bookmark list with your favorite industry blogs and read up on new strategies and tools to stay in the know about the issues that impact your business.
3. Get Your Group On.
LinkedIn isn’t just for adding business contacts and endorsing your friends. The site’s industry-specific groups are a great way to make new connections in your field.
4. Tweet the Future.
Scheduling all of your company’s tweets will make you seem robotic and spammy, but if you’ve got a busy day or vacation coming up, queuing up some tweets in advance is one of the best ways to be productive at work when the procrastination bug bites. We recommend using Hootsuite for this – our research has shown that Hootsuite is better than CoTweet or TweetDeck for most small business owners.
“queuing up some tweets is one of the best ways to be productive at work when the procrastination bug bites.” – The Content Factory
5. Protect Yourself From Lawsuits.
Do you know where your website and blog photos are sourced from? Are you 100% sure they’re copyright-free? Check your sources, then do some reading on copyright infringement penalties – you could save yourself $8,000 over a single image!
6. Share Blog Posts on LinkedIn.
Remember those LinkedIn groups we mentioned? They’re great places to share blog links. This can send serious traffic and even get you some business – just make sure you don’t spam the groups and wear out your welcome.
7. Get to Know Google+.
Sharing your blog links can help raise your search engine ranking, so show your profile a little love the next time you feel like procrastinating. Learn more with our post on why Google+ marketing should be part of your digital strategy.
8. Find Your Focus.
If you’re feeling a bit foggy, check out Lumosity and create a free account to begin “training” your brain to be better at memorizing, multitasking and avoiding distractions – something you probably have issues with if you’re looking for productive ways to procrastinate.
9. Build Your Twitter Lists.
Create a new Twitter list or add to one you already have. Journalists who cover your industry, innovative competitors, business leaders in related fields, they’re all great users to follow, and Twitter lists will make finding their tweets much easier. By interacting with high-value accounts on a regular basis, you’ll increase your network – and your company’s visibility.
“By interacting with high-value accounts regularly, you increase your network & visibility.” – The Content Factory
10. Leave Some Comments.
Do a Google search and check out new blog posts related to your field, then leave a comment and share a link to your own related content. Pro tip: limit your search to content that has been published in the last month, to focus on blogs that are new and likely to have more engaged readers. Most blogs use nofollow on comments, so it isn’t an easy way to earn backlinks, but you can still link back to your content (when relevant!) to get it in front of new eyes.
“When leaving blog comments, limit your search parameters within 30 days to target engaged readers.” – The Content Factory
11. Analyze Your SEO.
Run your company’s URL through SEOsiteCheckup to uncover the weak spots in your site’s SEO strategy. It’s free and one of the most valuable tools at your disposal, especially if you don’t know a whole lot about back-end SEO.
12. Update Your Keywords.
Researching SEO keywords is one of the best and most rewarding ways to procrastinate. Your website’s targeted keywords should be updated at least every six months – keyword trends can change fast and you need to change with them if you want to keep ranking highly for relevant terms. Don’t know how? We’ve got you covered – here’s the only guide to SEO keyword research you’ll ever need.
13. Sign up to be a Source.
Finding placement for articles, scoring interviews and earning backlinks can be hard, but signing up for HARO, PitchRate, SourceBottle and MediaKitty (the latter is specifically for travel/tourism related businesses) can connect you to reporters and journalists who need sources for stories.
We’ve gotten clients featured everywhere from the Today show and CNN to the New York Times and Mashable via HARO, and we recommend the service to every small business owner we know. We’ve become full-blown brand evangelists for HARO, because it works (the results of our 30-Day HARO Experiment speak for themselves) – and it’s definitely worthy of your procrastiation time.
14. Respond to PR Queries.
Once you’ve signed up for the mailing lists we just mentioned, open some emails and begin answering queries. If you don’t know where to start, check out our post on how to pitch the media like a digital PR pro.
15. Update Your Calendar.
Networking and interacting online is one of the main responsibilities of social media managers, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the elbow-rubbing opportunities happening out there in the real world. Check local events calendars for networking parties and charity fundraisers, then score some tickets and mark your calendar.
16. Write Some LinkedIn Recommendations.
Log into Linkedin and write some detailed recommendations for employees or clients who’ve impressed you this month. It’s a great way to build relationships, and they might just return the favor the next time they’re looking for ways to procrastinate.
17. Explore a New Social Media Site.
There are plenty of flash-in-the-pan websites out there trying to be the next Facebook, so it doesn’t pay to sign up for every single one, but occasionally one of these sites breaks away from the crowd and becomes an established network with true staying power. Do some research and check out emerging sites so you can learn about the next big thing before your competitors do. Or, research best practices for marketing on Reddit or Tumblr to diversify your social media marketing portfolio!
18. Find Inspiration on Pinterest.
Pinterest can be a great place to discover new article ideas or gain traffic by pinning your own company blogs. Need help getting started? Check out our guide to marketing with Pinterest.
19. Spot Check Your Blog Content.
You probably don’t take on all of your company’s social media responsibilities, and you’re likely not the sole writer and editor of your blog either. So when you’re wasting time, read some of your latest posts to make sure they’re up to your standards. If you find outdated information, update the blog.
20. Read a Book.
Remember books? They’re those paper things you used to read before you bought a Kindle – and there’s a LOT of great material out there that can teach you about managing time at work, gaining web traffic and kicking ass at social media marketing. We recommend Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, or Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
If it works for you, you could add “writing a blog post” to this list of productive ways to procrastinate. We didn’t mention it because it seemed a bit obvious, and if you ask our writing department, it’s often the very thing they’re trying to avoid. Of course, you can always spend downtime learning a new skill or brushing up on old ones. Sign up for our comprehensive SEO and content writing course today!
We’re always up for hearing new ways to be productive at work, so if you’re less interested in playing Pokemon Go than you are in crushing the competition, post a comment and share your productive procrastination tips.