I know everyone procrastinates, but I honestly have a problem with it that would probably mandate rehab if it involved alcohol. I have done things in an effort to procrastinate that actually go so far as to not be procrastination any more. This post is also procrastination, BUT for people who are less endowed in the subtle art that is guilt free timewasting, I thought I would give a helping (and probably self destructive) hand.
The first key tip that I have to avoid doing the things you should be doing is internet access, although it is not always necessary. The second is an open, curious mind that is willing to do anything to avoid the productive task in hand. The third is creativity. Do not limit yourself to run of the mill activities, like binge watching netflix or tidying your room. That is amateur level, my friends. In order to truly procrastinate you should not just be avoiding doing the thing you are procrastinating about, you should be fully committing yourself to another activity to the point of being productive. And yes, me writing this post is procrastination. And I promise you, I have done all these things in the last week (it was reading week after all)
- I have begun learning german. With an app. Apparently I am 3% fluent, and I know the words for water (wasser), bread (brot) woman (frau) and boy (junge) as well as a handful more. This is an especially satisfying technique because I have no plans to go to germany in the near future, have never studied it and can at this point in my life see no practical application for it, apart from shouting it down the phone at my boyfriend, and in person to my dog.
- Googling answers to any question I can think of, for example how to sew on a button, how to get balsamic vinegar out of clothes, and my personal favourite, the origin of words. The key for this is to have no plans to use any of this knowledge, but for it to be justifiable ‘just in case’. How to withstand torture, how to pick a lock, how to organise my non existent office for increase productivity, medieval law, Mary Boylyns reputation in France while she was at court. I am learning, just not the things I am supposed to know. I feel good, but not stressed. Perfect procrastination material.
- Vice. If you are not familiar with vice, you probably have never been on the internet and I judge you. Is it slightly sensational? yes. Gritty? yes. Do I need to be reading 500 articles on drug dealers and sex workers? No, because I am meant to be writing an essay on Descartes and he as far as I know was neither. I feel good because I feel like I am learning something, but I don’t have the stress of learning a lot about it, and also don’t need to know anything about it so its a match made in heaven.
- Finding new apps to increase productivity is a brilliant way to waste it. I can spend hours organising my life when I should be doing something else, and no time when I should actually be organising my life, as I am probably reading Vice in bed. Downloading and trying out 8 PDF readers for iPad is a magnificent way to not feel guilty about the fact I have not read any of the PDFs I am supposed to be reading. Same with making 8 different to do lists on completely different apps and making lifestyle changes such as starting headspace downloading 1 or 20 fitness apps.
- In the library, and catch yourself on Facebook? Amateur level. Start researching a completely different topic to the one you are supposed to be, as obscure as you can find it. Really use this essay writing/researching time you have among thousands of books to explore as many diverse topics you can. Pile them around you. Read less than a chapter of each. Maybe even take notes. Find your interest of the moment, and then find another one. Ensure you will be able to talk vaguely and uneducatedly about it and move on. If you are not in a library, read the wrong chapters of your text book. They will be 500 times more intriguing and 500 times less applicable. If you are really committed, go back to the start of your course and take notes, in a new style, using multiple coloured pens. Make sure never to complete them.
- Get impassioned about a cause and plan to uptake a fight for it. It doesn’t have to be charitable it could be as simple as getting the group together for a night out in your home town. Organise as many events as you can, with as many people as you can. These events may or not take place, but they will be complex and involve logistical planning that should last until your study time is over and you feel justified in ‘taking a study break’.
- Spend hours signing up for job alerts from companies you never really plan to work for. Bonus time gets used up telling your mum about how many jobs you have applied for, leaving out the part about how they were all jobs for experienced visual merchants in Birmingham.
- Have an incredible idea for a business, talk about it in great detail to your dad/ boyfriend/ think about it in my head. Plan it all out. Never ever act on these plans or feel passionately about them again. This also works equally as well for hobbies.
- Think of all the songs you vaguely know, obsess over one melody and attempt to find the name of it based on one possibly correct line/ melody. If you manage to find it, learn all the words/ how to play it on piano, even though you don’t know how to play piano anyway. Bonus points for calling family and friends and singing it to them over the phone. entrap as many innocents as you can in the fruitless search. If you can’t find it spend 5 hours watching how to play the piano tutorials on youtube anyway, and a ream of paper printing out sheet music.
- Decide on a complex lifestyle/ diet change and spend a minimum of 3 hours researching it and finding recipes. Then make a shopping list, which sometimes get brought to the shop, but more often gets abandoned like the quinoa that has been sitting in my press since I started college. It is the thought that counts when it comes to this after all.
So there you have it, 10 fab ways to procrastinate guilt free! Please comment any things you specifically do/ websites or anything because I am in a bit of a rut procrastination wise and might actually have to start working soon.