Your 2016 March Madness Productivity Guide

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Today and tomorrow are going to be the most unproductive days of the year, again, and employers are bracing for what is expected to be a $4 billion loss. March Madness, the annual college basketball invitational tournament, starts at 12:15pm EST today and with all the excitement and tension that comes with the NCAA Tournament (ubiquitously considered to be the best playoff system in sports), sports fans the world over welcome an unofficial hiatus where very little work is going to get done. Either employees aren’t going to come into work, or they’re going to be sitting at their desks watching live streams of all the games…all day. I mean, it’s hard enough to get a full day’s worth of work done, it’s even harder when there are 11+ hours of college basketball to watch.

The likelihood is that you are going to want to watch as many games as possible over the next two days and you’re going to do whatever you have to do to make that a reality. But what if your job doesn’t allow you to use the internet freely, or take intermittent breaks at your leisure? What are you left to do?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the 2016 March Madness Productivity Guide:


Record Record Record!

We live in the age of DVRs. Recording something on TV is legitimately as easy as changing the channel. We don’t need to worry about having a blank tape or not setting the timer right. We simply need to click, and point. The best part is, you can record more than one “show” (read: game) at a time and even set your DVR to record with your smartphone (technology is crazy).

Don’t forget about the radio

I know it seems a like a technology for a bygone era (and it is) but radio still exists and radio feeds still broadcast all the games. If there is a game you are keen on listening to, pop in some headphones and start that baby up. It may not be as good as watching it, but at least you’ll be up on the current action while still being able to get some work done.


Lunch Breaks

Almost every full-time employer is going to give you time off for lunch. Take that time and catch a snippet of some of the games that are going on. The good news is, all games are available to stream on an insane number mobile devices (why anyone would want to watch a game on their Apple Watch is beyond me, but I digress) so you can watch the games no matter where your lunch takes you. I know that only having an hour or so to watch the games isn’t ideal, but at least you won’t be caught in the dark.

Non-lunch Breaks

Maybe you like to go get coffee for a few minutes in the morning, or maybe you take a smoking break a few times a day. Those minutes add up. What if, for two days, you took fewer smoking breaks, and drank the coffee that is offered in the office? The amount of time that you would have spent away from your desk significantly diminishes and you can feel better about taking a few minutes here and there to peek in on the action without sacrificing more available work time. The key here isn’t making more time, but repurposing your time to better serve your NCAA Tournament habit.

(Hint: If you are going to forgo your non-lunch breaks to watch the games at your desk, use the “Boss Button” and use it liberally. Check out last year’s version here)

“Wasted” Time

According to this study, 80% of workers are wasting time while at their desks either checking social media or just meandering through the internet. If we can abstain from wandering the vast abyss that is the internet, and instead watch the games, we wont have to sacrifice any amount of productivity. We’re not going to be more productive, not by any means, but at least our productivity will not drop off a cliff. The same amount of work will be done, it’s just the distractions that will change.

Say you’re not one of these “sports fans” we keep hearing about. What if you don’t really care all that much about what happens in college athletics? Well lucky for you, this isn’t an issue you have to grapple with on a yearly basis. However, on behalf of everyone who is going to want to catch at least a bit of the games, I plead with you to please, be cool. Everyone knows what’s going on, we’re all in this together. Please don’t ruin it for everyone by making a stink about us trying to watch some college basketball.

Until next time – Go Terps!

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When Arye isn't helping optimize your time, he is doing his part to ensure life is full of shenanigans.