Sometimes, when I start playing a YouTube video or a Netflix series on my first monitor, I magically start working on the other monitor without paying attention to the video. Why do I do this? I think it’s because it gives me a sense of scoring extra points in a game. Alas, when I played the video I have decided to spend some time chilling instead of working, but if I actually make progress in work during that bulk of time that was anyway going to be wasted, I feel like going beyond a set goal. However, the YouTube trick is not always useful because I can’t really accomplish challenging tasks that require full focus with a YouTube video on.
That’s how I came to think of Structured Slacking. Sometimes, you don’t want to do anything today. Then think to yourself, “Okay, then let’s not do anything today. After all, I can use some rest from time to time. But, I’ll just do this very small thing today. It’s like an extra point I can score on a day off to feel good about myself.” Then suddenly you’re motivated to do that small thing. And once you get that started, you’ll probably continue working. That said, it’s also important to set up that tiny task to be the tip of the iceberg of a bigger set of tasks.
As many would guess from the name, Structured Slacking was also inspired by Structured Procrastination. The two are similar in that both aim to enhance the productivity of an individual and operate on top of self-deception; Deep inside your heart you know Structured Slacking is bullshit, but you manage to trick yourself to almost believe that you will take today off, and you will actually stop working after accomplishing that small task. The difference is that Structured Procrastination haunts you with a pending important task that you’re procrastinating, which is honestly not the best feeling. On the other hand, with Structured Slacking, you’re pretty chill. Of course you are. You’re getting the day off!