How to Stop Procrastinating and Use Facebook Productively

Relax, says Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit. You can’t beat your Facebook addiction into submission – so schedule it into your work day. 

What's the Big Idea?


One of the key take-home messages of Charles Duhigg’s new book The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is that habits are pernicious little buggers. Over time, they become hardwired in the brain such that you can’t just will yourself to change them. 

Take Facebook. The average person spends nearly 80 hours per month on Facebook. No doubt a healthy portion of that time can be considered procrastination. After all, we are attached to computers, and it is all too easy to seek that "reward," as Duhigg puts it, since there is no equivalent "work reward" that can compete with scrolling through pictures and profile updates.

So how can you break this habit and be more productive?

Duhhig says go ahead, and take 5 minutes per hour. That's right, don't ignore the urge, actually put it on your schedule. In other words, once a habit exists, Duhigg says, "you can't just pretend it's not there." So if you schedule this time as a 5-minute break from work, your behavior won't explode (as it might be now) into 45-minute sessions of pure distraction. 

Watch the video here:

"Willpower is a muscle," Duhigg says, "and the same is true with our ability to focus." Therefore he recommends you practice "going longer and longer without taking a 5-minute break. Then you will be able to focus longer."

What’s the Significance? 

In tough economic times, businesses strive to do more with less. For workers, this means more responsibility and higher expectations of productivity. This produces anxiety, which can lead to wrong decisions – at every level of a company – about how best to realize our goals.  

Now, more than ever, employers and workers need to understand how habits operate. Resourcefulness in times of crisis depends upon creativity, which is only accessible when we work realistically – organizing our time and efforts in ways that take human psychology into account. 

Management really needs to take the lead here, building an office culture that supports and rewards genuine, sustainable progress more than it does the appearance of effort.

Jason Gots contributed to this post. 

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less