April 27, 2018


Do you love to ‘faff’? For this week’s #BORNATDAWNLIFE we are examining whether the common habit of ‘faffing’ is a help or a hindrance and learning ways to remain focused and achieve our goals. We’re inspired by journalist Coco Khan’s recent piece for the Guardian. 

‘Faffing’ is defined as ‘spending time in ineffectual activity’. Coco provides examples of this; from spending inordinate amounts of time pairing socks to Googling the cast of popular 90s American sitcoms. She labels the internet a ‘pervasive productivity-stealer’ and most of us can relate to checking our phones then looking up 20 minutes later after being lost in an Instagram abyss.

The Idler magazine believes we aren’t made for constant toil and the mechanism of faffing subconsciously creates space and a ‘precious pause’ which is important to have in our everyday life. However, Coco believes her propensity to faff is preventing her from being successful and dreads to think what she could achieve instead of dithering.

Being in ‘faffing mode’ can protract simple tasks, make deadlines an unnecessary panic and hinder the achievement of our goals. Dawdling may feel gratifying in the moment, but post-faff can leave us unfulfilled, irritable and guilty.

Steven Aitchison writing for Lifehack offers some tips on how to stop faffing and get stuff done, including:
• Switch off distractions like email and consider a social media usage-limiting app like ‘In Moment’.
• “Eat the frog” and tackle difficult or important tasks early in your day to save you trying to cram and rush later and avoid sloppy work and frustration.
• Set a ‘do not disturb’ and tell your partner or flatmate how long it applies for; this creates a personal responsibility to finish a task and you can’t blame others if you faff instead!
• Build in a ‘precious pause’ like a flick through a magazine with a coffee; this reframes a potential faff as a planned reward.

We are on a mission to reclaim our time! Have you got any other tips that help you stay on track and focus, making you more productive? We would love to hear…

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