In this tutorial, I will show you how to apply productivity techniques to procrastination, thereby allowing you to do the things you enjoy doing, but faster and more efficiently.
Table Of Contents
- Speed Watch Videos | Save time by increasing the playback speed of TV shows, movies and YouTube clips
- Purge Spam | Cut time wasted looking at email and social spam
- Separate Surfing From Reading | Streamline the way you read news articles and blog posts
- Use A Social Media Manager | Control all your social media accounts from one place
- Listen To Podcasts | Use your unused processing power to learn while doing daily menial activities
- Additional Tips To Procrastinate More Productively | Take your procrastination productivity to the next level
1. Speed Watch Videos
Your ability to process audio-visual information is much faster than the speed at which most videos are played. So, it stands to reason that you could watch YouTube clips, movies and TV shows 10%, 25%, or maybe even 100% faster than the normal playback speed!
Luckily, most major video platforms already include this option.
The optimal playback speed will vary from person to person, and depends heavily on the type of content, so I can’t make a single recommendation for everyone. In my case, I generally watch YouTube clips at +25%, and watch movies and TV shows at +25% to +50%.
It will feel strange, or even silly at first, but I promise that you’ll quickly adapt to the new pace and enjoy the extra time you made!
Fun Fact: Many cable channels and radio stations secretly increase their broadcast speeds by up to 10%, in order to: 1) increase airtime for commercials, and 2) make the channel more engaging than slower competitors.
Automatic YouTube Playback Speed Option (Chrome only)
- Download the ImprovedTube extension
- Click ImprovedTube icon
- Change playback speed to desired speed
Manual YouTube Playback Speed Option
- Click the gear icon on the bottom right of the video
- Click the Speed option
- Select the new playback speed
VLC Player Playback Speed Option
This is the video player I use to watch downloaded movies and TV shows.
- Click the Playback option on the top menu bar
- Change the playback speed slider
2. Purge Spam
How much time do you waste every day deleting spam mail and scrolling through content you don’t want to see on Facebook? By purging your social feeds and email inbox, you can spend less time on things you don’t care about and more time on things you do.
I personally do this at least once every 3 months and I always feel extremely refreshed after. It’s the digital equivalent of thoroughly cleaning your room.
Unsubscribe To Email Spammers
I promise this will be the best 5 minutes you’ll spend today.
- Sign in to unroll.me
- Click “Edit Subscriptions”
- Click “New Items”
- Unsubscribe to every service you no longer wish to receive emails from
The first time you do this, you may be astounded by the sheer number of services you’ve subscribed to, but the real surprise will come in the following week when you realize just how much time you used to spend managing spam mail.
Unfollow Spammy Twitter & Instagram Accounts
- Sign into unfollowers.com
- Click “Everyone You Follow” in the left menu
- Unfollow or Mute any user who’s activity you no longer wish to see
In addition, you can use this tool to manage your account in a number of other ways, such as removing inactive and fake accounts.
Unfollow Spammy Friends & Pages
This isn’t done in a single session, but requires continued maintenance. However by making a habit of unfollowing people and pages you don’t want to see, you’ll dramatically change the quality of the content you see in your feed.
- Sign in to Facebook
- Find a post you don’t like
- Click the ˅ icon on the top right of the post
- Unfollow the user entirely or tell Facebook to filter content like this from now on
Block Facebook Feed Ads
Facebook is increasingly filled with ads which generally reduce the quality of the experience. By installing an ad blocking extension into your browser, you can not only block Facebook ads, but ads on nearly all websites you visit.
- Install Adblock Plus
- That’s it!
*Many websites, like this one, are free because of ads, so please consider whitelisting (i.e. unblocking the ads) for websites you wish to support!
3. Separate Surfing From Reading
You can dramatically increase your internet surfing productivity by separating searching for content from reading it.
In order to set this up, you have to install Pocket in your browser, your smartphone and any other devices you use to read the news, blog posts, etc. Then, as you surf the net, instead of opening any articles you want to read, you save it to Pocket.
Once you’re done picking articles to read, open up Pocket and read them.
There are many benefits to this technique, including:
- Integration with all major platforms, so you can save content from any device and read from any device. This means you can save articles from your desktop, then read them on your smartphone later.
- Removal of ads
- A clean, content-only design that removes all the clutter that usually appears around the content on the website
- No comments and recommended articles, so you’re less likely get distracted by low-quality content
- It works offline, so you can read articles anywhere, anytime (as long as you open the app once while you still have internet connection)
4. Use A Social Media Manager
If you are a heavy social media user, then I recommend you use a social media manager app to manage all your accounts simultaneously.
This is the same tool professional social media marketers use to manage their company’s social media accounts.
As you can see, HootSuite allows me to manage my Facebook page and Twitter account from a single dashboard. However, you can customize your dashboard in any way, with multiple Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin Accounts. The dashboard is great for keeping tabs on all your accounts from one place, but it also lets you post to multiple accounts simultaneously and schedule posts in advance.
5. Listen To Podcasts
This doesn’t speed up an existing activity like the other recommendations. Instead, this method will allow you to productively use your brain’s unused processing power while doing menial daily activities, such as:
- Waiting (in line, on the bus/train, etc.)
- Walking or running
- Driving (not recommended for those that get distracted easily)
- Cooking or eating
Collectively, these activities can represent more than 2 hours of your day. By getting into the habit of listening to podcasts, when you would otherwise do nothing productive, you could add 30 minutes or more of additional learning every day.
If you listen to just 30 minutes of podcasts a day, you’ll add an extra 180 hours of learning per year. That’s enough time to:
- Listen to hundreds of educational and informative lessons on a variety of topics
- Learn a new language to an intermediate conversational level
- Listen to 20+ audiobooks
Podcast channels are great because they’re free, publish new content frequently and are easy to follow.
If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, then your phone already has the Apple Podcast app installed, but if you’re using an Android phone or tablet, I recommend you download Podcast Addict.
In both cases, all you have to do is subscribe to the channels you wish to follow and you’ll instantly have access to all past podcasts and be updated when new ones are published.
Recommended topics include:
- Academic topics (science, mathematics, history, medicine, etc.)
- Self improvement
- Investing and business
- How to start and grow a small business
- Language learning (Spanish, Japanese, etc.)
- International and speciality news
*Most podcast players give you the option to speed up the playback speed. Make sure to speed up podcasts that are slow and easy to follow in order to save time and be more productive!
Similar to podcasts, you can also listen to the audio versions of books. In fact, many people that claim to read 1 book a week are actually just listening to the audiobooks, because it’s so much easier to integrate into a busy lifestyle!
Of course, new and popular books usually cost money, but many classics are available for free.
Alternatively, Audible.com by Amazon offers 2 free audiobooks as part of their 30-day free trial offer.
Audio Language Lessons
Another similar application to podcasts is audio-based language lessons.
This style of learning is so effective that the US Federal Government has published over 70 languages of free audio lessons through the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). The lessons can be accessed here.
The FSI lessons are an amazing free resource, but I found the lessons to be so boring that I had trouble staying focused. If you’re like me, you may want to check out Pimsleur, which is arguably the most famous audio-based language lesson program. I found their lessons much more engaging and effective.
If you listen to just 30 minutes of audio lessons a day, you can comfortably pick up the basics of a new language in only a few months!
6. Additional Tips To Procrastinate More Productively
- Listen To Fast, Aggressive Music – Your heart rate and pace naturally increase when listening to fast music. Take advantage of this by listening to fast music when you want to do something more quickly.
- Outsource Small Tasks With Fiverr – Pay someone $5 to do things for you.
- Track Prices With PriceZombie – Track price changes, compare prices instantly, see historical prices and add alerts to automate your shopping.
- Automate Your News Feed With Feedly – Subscribe to all your favorite blogs and newspapers in one app. Combine this with Pocket for even greater productivity.
- Subscribe To Google Trends – Have the latest trending news about your favorite topic, city or country sent to your inbox every day or week.
- Group Call Your Friends – Instead of calling your friends 1-by-1, group call them to save time and have more fun!
- Learn Email Shortcuts – Quickly reply, delete and forward emails using keyboard shortcuts. See keyboard shortcuts for Gmail & Outlook.