I am proud to report that, today, I procrastinated on posting this. For the first time, this blog actually lived up to its name: the Art of Procrastination. In honor of this, and because I have left myself very little time to come up with something worth actually writing, I’ve made you a list:
5 Best Procrastination Activities (& how I fail to avoid them)
This one is at the top of the list because while I may not spend as much time on it as I do on other things, the time I do waste there is wasted absolutely. Do I really care who America’s Next Top Model is? Is watching ABC family’s censored versions of my favorite movies really the best use of my time? Have I ever been interested in the history of the toy train? The answer to all of these questions: an ear-shattering NO. And yet, somehow, these things become infinitely fascinating when there are other things I should be doing.
The Solution: don’t buy cable. All the shows I do want to watch are online anyway, right?
Why it fails: I have roommates. The cable comes with the territory.
This is probably the one most people would put at the top of the list. For all its wondrous glory, the Internet is a dangerous thing when it comes to productivity. As if Facebook alone weren’t enough to destroy anyone’s motivation regarding those to-do lists, some genius had to go and invent stumble-upon, webcomics and cracked.com (particularly dangerous because I could totally use this in a story some day, so this is important research…). And there goes my day.
The Solution: turn the Internet off. Easy enough, right?
Why it fails: I have to look things up while I’m writing, right? And how can you do that without the Internet? It’ll be okay if I only use it for this one little thing…and I’ve been working so hard, I’ll just press the stumble button once, to reward myself….
3. Temporary Projects
It’s amazing how easy it is to forget working on your main project when you’ve convinced yourself this other little thing will be really cool and won’t take very long. A good example of this, for me, is my propensity toward pencil drawing. About every 3-6 months, usually when a big paper is due or I have a major test the following morning, I suddenly acquire not only the urge to draw, but also the patience to spend hours doing it. This is in no way helpful to me, as drawing is not in any way related to what I want to do with my life, and yet I convince myself that because it is artistic, it is relevant. And I am wrong.
The Solution: Remind yourself that you are terrible at everything except writing, and then convince yourself that you’ll feel better about your lack of talent if you go do that one thing you aren’t terrible at.
Why it fails: It’s a lot easier to just watch TV or surf the internet than to redeem yourself by actually writing.
4. Household Chores
This wouldn’t seem like a good way to procrastinate, considering how far some people will go to avoid cleaning, but judging by how organized my apartment gets just before finals week, I’m not the only one who feels it. When there are lots of projects on your plate that you should be doing, it’s easy to convince yourself that there is no possibleway you could get all that work done when your room is such a distracting pig sty. If you just tidy up a bit, it’ll give you a clean slate to work with, right? And then six hours later there isn’t a speck of dust in your room and you go to bed feeling accomplished, despite having made no progress whatsoever on all the things due tomorrow.
The Solution: Go to the library. There’s nowhere less distracting than the library.
Why it fails: But it takes so long to walk there, because it’s so far away. I will be far more effective if I just stay home and use that time I’d spend walking to write. Oh, but I should just straighten up my desk first. Oh, hey, I remember that book…
Which brings me to….
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am the queen of nick-knacks. Every surface of my room is stacked with DVDs, figurines, photos, toys, nail polish, jewelry, old notebooks, snacks, clothes, make-up and many, many more things that could hardly be classified. In a pinch, just about any one of these items can serve as a More Interesting Thing To Do, but the worst of all is the books. If I come across a book (say, because I’ve just been straightening my desk up a bit), that’s my whole afternoon shot, regardless of what the book is or how many times I’ve already read it.
The Solution:There isn’t one. Even the library has books. I give up.
Why it fails: Don’t bother me. I’m reading.
“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” -Robert Benchley
New prologue started. Also, I designed a house. See #3….