”JUST”ification – the sneakiest form of procrastination (and how to deal with it) 

”JUST”ification – the sneakiest form of procrastination (and how to deal with it) 

Finding time to think and focus on what truly matters can sometimes feel like a battle. This realisation struck me during a recent conversation with one of my clients. They confided that carving out dedicated time for thinking was a challenge they grappled with regularly. 

What caught my attention was the justification they used to explain their predicament.

The “just” in “JUST-ification” seems harmless enough, but its impact is far-reaching. It’s the word we use when we’re about to engage in a task that distracts us from what truly matters. It’s the friend who invites you for a night out when you should be working on your project. It’s the allure of social media when you should be focusing on deep, strategic thinking. It’s the innocent email you send that turns into an hour of back-and-forth communication.

The JUST-ification Loop: The Struggle with Prioritisation

Imagine this scenario: You have a crucial board report to work on, a presentation to refine, or an important decision to make. You know the value of these tasks, but the allure of “just” is irresistible. You tell yourself you’ll “just” send one more email before diving into the report. You’ll “just” check your social media accounts for a quick update before working on your presentation. And you’ll “just” re-do your to-do list because it feels productive.

In reality, this is the sneakiest form of procrastination. These “just” tasks eat away at your precious time, leaving you with fragmented attention and an ever-growing list of important tasks left unattended. The urgency of the moment wins over the importance of the long-term impact.

The External Influence: The “JUST” Demands of Others

The “just” phenomenon doesn’t just plague individuals internally. It’s also propagated externally by others who seek a slice of your time and attention. Your colleagues might ask you to “just” hop on a quick call, your manager might want you to “just” review a proposal, or your clients might request “just” a chat. These external demands can lead to a fractured workday, hindering your ability to focus on the tasks that drive real progress.

Becoming Selfish with Your Time: The “JUST” Solution

Acknowledging the presence of “JUST”ification” is the first step towards reclaiming your time and focus. Start by recognising the trigger word – “just.” It’s your signal that you’re about to engage in a task that could potentially pull you away from what’s truly important.

To combat this tendency, cultivate a sense of self-awareness. When you catch yourself falling into the “just” trap, pause and evaluate whether the task at hand aligns with your priorities. Assess whether it contributes to your long-term goals or if it’s just a temporary distraction.

Empower yourself to say “no.” The famous* phrase “JUST say no,” carries a valuable lesson. 

Politely decline requests that divert your attention from your key tasks. 

Politely decline requests that don’t align with your priorities and values.

Conclusion: Embrace the “JUST” Revolution

In a world teeming with distractions, mastering your time and focus is vital. The “JUST-ification” phenomenon can be your biggest enemy, but it can also be the catalyst for positive change. Recognise its presence, be vigilant for its triggers, and be prepared to say “no” when necessary. 

Transform “just” from a justification for distraction into a battle cry for focused productivity. Remember, every time you say “no” to the trivial “just” tasks, you’re saying “yes” to your own growth and success.


*Coined from Grange Hill – one for the kids!


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