Procrastination is a fine art that can take decades of practice to perfect. But get it right and you can while away your spare hours, weeks and years before dying with a lifelong collection of regrets.
There are millions of ways to procrastinate, but for you motivated little bunnies out there I have collated a few of my theories and specialties.
For best results, read this slowly.
On keeping yourself busy
Staying unmotivated can be tough sometimes (especially if you are feeling guilty) so make sure you are surrounded by interesting distractions.
Facebook, Twitter, emails and ready access to TV and movies can really help with this.
Being guided by the voice
“It must be lunch time… or dinner time or something. I think I need to use the loo, and the dog has puppy dog eyes and if I do the washing now, it will probably be dry by this evening and what the hell is that muck in the bottom of the cupboard? Was that there yesterday?
I think I have a headache; I must be working too hard. I should probably rest and look after myself. No point burning out and I have to return that DVD tomorrow anyway – don’t want to waste it.”
The importance of focus
One of my favourite tricks is to have too many focuses or goals. This way you can be busy all the time, spread yourself thin and achieve nothing.
Even in the off chance that something starts to succeed your lack of focus will ensure that you make it as difficult as possible to complete, that it takes far too much time and ends up being a sad representation of what you initially aimed for.
Are you hungry? I feel like a snack… or an extravagant 2 hour meal. I’ll meet you in 20 minutes.
On goals with dates
It is best not to have specific goals, especially ones with dates. Goals with dates are such a pain when they start getting close and you have to keep pushing them out in your diary.
Not only is it a waste of ink, but they can really stress you out when you have no real intention of fulfilling them.
Also, that constant self-guilt thing can cause serious health issues.
If you must write goals down…
Get a packet of gum and while sitting in a cafe, chew two pieces and write your goals on a paper napkin.
Then, with your eyes closed, keep chewing and work the ideas in your mind. After about 5 minutes spit the gum in the napkin, scrunch it and toss it in the bin or leave it on the side of your plate. When you leave, don’t look back.
Feeling sorry for one’s self is a procrastinators delight! Find a good reason why you should be distracted and inefficient and remind yourself and others regularly.
Remember, the more people that feel sorry for you, the better your results will be.
If you can hang on to an old illness or grief these are especially good as superiors just don’t like to question those hard personal moments.
The trick here is to be bold in your quest for sympathy, the more people you convince, the more you will convince yourself. This cycle of heart tugging collusion is high level tactics and should not be attempted unless you can maintain a desperately sad look and handle the constant rasping of piteous whispers.
If you are feeling bored with your work it is probably better that you pick yourself up, walk to the shop and get some chocolate. This way when you return you can see if your boredom is affected by cocoa and sugar.
In my experience it doesn’t really help the work but at least you have some chocolate. Chocolate with procrastination tastes so much better than procrastination alone.
Taking on the big issues
If things are a little busy today, best to wait until tomorrow. No point trying to be productive when you only have a spare hour or two, use that time instead to prepare yourself mentally and the best way to prepare yourself is to relax.
It is a known fact that daytime TV is more relaxing than any other activity, especially Judge Judy and re-runs of Doctor Phil. Is there any issue that is too big for the big guy?
Let’s hope not.
That guy and that place
If in doubt eat something delicious. Or, if you are hungry, bored, tired, distracted etc. It could be a blood sugar problem, so look after the stomach first – and don’t be lazy, order something really worth eating. In fact remember that place that… that guy, hmmm what’s his name?
Anyway some guy recommended a cool place to eat, really healthy and I have been meaning to go there. I think it starts with a T? I am sure it’s a T, anyway I really want to go there. I’ll Google Food and T and see if it comes up… Remember that guy?
Very important research
I wonder if there is a natural alternative to that… I’ll just Google it, a few hours should do.
More very important research
Learning stuff online is one of the most important things you can do with your life, the more websites you check out and things you read the better. I suggest using Facebook or Twitter as a base and click through to as many links as you can before you start working each day.
They say knowledge is power and we all know that power is, well, just so powerful.
Salty snacks are an essential brain food. Did you know that if you don’t get enough salt you will die? The possibility that you could die from a lack of salty snacks is probably the first thing you should address. No joy in being successful if you are dead.
The best time
If in doubt, start later, tonight or after the weekend. I promise you, there is always a better time to get things done.
Getting the balance
Overwhelm is the perfect balance of everything and nothing. To achieve this, start many things at once or something new every day. If you can achieve genuine overwhelm you have the perfect reason why you should probably stop and watch Grey’s Anatomy.
You would think that with all this food related procrastination I would be the size of a house – I will have to leave that to your imagination.
Meanwhile if you are still unsure if you can claim the title of grand master procrastinator, start by taking a deep breath and turning on the TV. Every step you don’t take in life is a giant leap towards your unfulfilled dreams.