The art of procrastination

Sometimes, I’m really busy. No matter how “on top” of things I feel I’ve been, I still have a to do list as long as a presidential campaign, and not enough time to do it in.

Fed up, I’ll throw my hands in the air and get myself into a proper strop. I’ll have an internal combustion (which admittedly sometimes does manifest itself externally if the poor other half is in the vicinity – “Can’t you just help me? Why do I have to remember to remind you to do what you need to do? You’re an ADULT!”) and then huffily resolve to not do anything that needs to be done.

Now let me tell you, it takes some skill to then judiciously avoid doing anything on my list for the whole day.

Anything that might be somewhat productive cannot even be considered.

The glaringly obvious task that could be tackled and finished in two minutes must be tip toed around, head turned in the opposite direction.

Every job must be pushed to the dark recesses of my mind, no matter how frustrating it is to see the mess that could so easily be tidied.

And then, the real test begins.

I have to then engage in utterly pointless, completely useless, horribly forgettable, past times that I will later regret, but will fill my time up so thoroughly that I cannot possibly find a spare minute to achieve anything that needs to be done.

And this, dear friends, is where the real skill lies.

Thinking of things to do that are a complete waste of time and prevent you from achieving anything is actually really difficult.

First, I’ll engage in a little food porn. Then I’ll visit pinterest, tumblr, and my google reader, where I’m subscribed to approximately 5,362,874,210 blogs. Then I’ll think of other sites I haven’t visited for a while, and I’ll be sure to check out  text from dog, dinosaur comics and the oatmeal (although sometimes I skip that last one because I don’t actually want to learn anything while I’m delaying the inevitable). But surfing the net can only take you so far.

Then I might watch an episode of Glee. But TV, if that’s your bag, can only keep you seated for so long.

I’ll consider calling a friend, but since talking to my mates means I’m actually ticking off “catch up with X” from my list, I generally won’t risk it.

So there’s only one thing for it.

I begin to build a spreadsheet.

I’m telling you, if you ever want to waste an entire afternoon, your love of excel will help you achieve that. The key is in choosing what to spreadsheet. It cannot be expenses, holiday plans, or anything that you might actually reference this spreadsheet for at a later date.

I recommend something utterly useless like “number of phone calls received by hour over the last six months”. Feel free to break these down into local, international, landline, mobile, family, friend, telesales – and any other further segmentation you would like to see.

You may then commence wasting time and energy collating data. Then spending hours on formatting. Then creating pointless graphs from which you can draw irrelevant conclusions. And once you realise that you NEVER receive calls between the hours of 4am and 5am, you can happily presume that this is, indeed, the optimal time to sleep.

Microsoft, we have so much to thank you for. Procrastinators the world over are that much happier, because of you.

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4 thoughts on “The art of procrastination

  1. You just reminded me I hadn’t read texts from my dog for a while – thanks. This blog is also a great procrastination for me. And of course, I wouldn’t want to miss a minute of the Olympics – I mean it’s only on for two weeks every four years, it would be disrespectful to shun it in favour of work, right?

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