How to Procrastinate
A last minute guide to Successful Dawdling
By William H. White, Jr.
Procrastination is a wonderful thing – if done properly done. The rank amateur thinks he can procrastinate, but when it comes down to it, how good is he really? Can he bear the strain and stress of knowing that a deadline is fast approaching and he has nothing done? And, speaking of doing nothing, what does he do when he is procrastinating? Has he really learned to master the art of staying busy and still not accomplishing his task? My quick guide will get you started on your way to being a true last minute person. You too can sit and say, “ I’ll get to it in a minute.” like a professional. All you need to do is apply yourself at not applying yourself.
If you study history, procrastinators have made many great achievements. These brave men and women who waited until it was almost too late to even start the job have left an indelible mark on our world. Take for example, the great Napoleon. Do you really think he planned and planned for success? No, he just kept waiting until he had to go to Waterloo, and we all know how that great victory turned out. (OK, so I am not real sure about that fact, but I didn’t have time to research and find accurate examples, and I could also probably cite countless examples, but like a true procrastinator, I have waited too late to look up these accomplishments too. You will have to take my work for it, my fellow put-it-offer. Or you can look it up yourself……..someday.)
While you are waiting to get started you cannot just sit around and stare at a wall. No, my friend if you are to be a truly great procrastinator you must apply yourself to the art. No mere sitting and lazing about cannot be allowed. (Although, sometimes a nap is needed to prepare yourself for the grueling task ahead.) You must rest well, young warrior, if you are to be truly great. You must stock up, whenever you have the time, on time expending quests, ever careful not to be distracted and tempted to do the job you are putting off.
After you have rested, you must eat. Food is a staple of procrastination. I’m not talking about a quick sandwich here. If you are to be a great procrastinator you must put the word “quick” out of your mind. Remember that the object here is to avoid the responsibility you have been saddled within the most time consuming manner possible. Many courses – perhaps a turkey dinner – that might keep you really busy. The problem with this approach is that it leaves you with more work to do and more things to put off. Things such as washing the dishes, storing the leftovers, cleaning the stove, and letting out the waist of your trousers; these all get in the way of your procrastination. They will cloud your mind and sway you from your goal. To avoid this, you must go to a restaurant. No mere fast food (yet another word that needs to be stricken from your vocabulary – “fast”) is going to take up the needed time. What you are going to need is a meal at a sit down restaurant. You should preferable choose one that requires a reservation. No, do not call for the reservations, just show up and demand a table. This will be perfect for your schedule
Once you return home from this ordeal you will probably require another nap. Never be ashamed to take a nap or two or five while you are procrastinating. This is hard work, and you have to be physically prepared to do it. When you have awakened, you may what to go and sit on the couch and watch television. You must not do this. You must keep looking like you are doing something. This retards the guilt and paranoia that accompanies the defeat of most beginners. You must delude the part of your brain that wants to pull you to the task at hand into thinking it is busy. A mere night of “must see TV” will not accomplish this. Get up and go outside. There is a whole world waiting to keep you busy.
Just look at that filthy vehicle you are driving. It needs attention. It needs to be washed, waxed, vacuumed, shampooed, painted, re-chromed, and polished. The oil needs to be changed, and the spark plugs need to be re-gapped, the entire engine may need to be rebuilt, but I only suggest the more time consuming projects for those extra- short deadlines. During those, you will need something extra to keep that pesky conscience of yours occupied. I have found that during these short deadlines, when the boss, teacher, or parent of yours is breathing down your neck, it is comforting to look them right in the eye and say, “I will get to the project just as soon as I have put the transmission back together and have it in the truck.” Surely none can argue with such a statement. Be sure when everything is back in running order that you go immediately inside and take a nap.
While just sitting and watching the new fall television schedule, or even worse – reruns is undesirable in a procrastinator, a good movie is not. A trip to the theater is a great thing. It gets you away from the project and puts you in a dark room and in a comfortable chair, which is a great place to catch a few winks – after all, standing in that ticket line took a lot out of you. If you cannot make it to a theater there is always the video rental store. They are a great way to spend a few hours looking for the perfect movie. Maybe you will get a new release that you have been dying to see, or perhaps you will select an old classic. Either way, you are sure to, “go home happy”. Just keep in mind that when you get home you will need time for a catnap before your watch your flick. You cannot be falling asleep during the main feature.
After the movie (and a nap of course), get on your computer. You can while away countless hours surfing the net, chatting with friends, or playing games. Probably one of the greatest procrastinator’s tools ever invented is computer solitaire. It is one of those, “I’ll just play until I win” games – and when you win you thing, “ well that was easy, I’m sure I’ll win again” and the whole process begins again. Of course don’t feel limited to just that. Feel free to pick your favorite game and play. I personally find that Command and Conquer provides hours of mindless distraction, and has the added benefit of honing your leadership skills. These skills will be invaluable should your home ever be over run by tiny men in bright red uniforms wielding such instruments of death and destruction as the Tesla coil.
Now that you have procrastinated, I mean really procrastinated, (I am talking about straightening the wires on your stereo, making sure all the clocks in your house are synchronized, and all the buttons on yours shirts in your closet are facing the same direction) you may have to actually have to begin your assignment, job, or project. The sheer rush of adrenaline and creativity is what makes all of the work of putting it off a pure joy. The high excitement and fear pushes you to do great things. You can achieve anything if you can just figure out what you can do in the thirty-seven minutes you have left. I would help you get started on that, but I have put of too many things too long, and now I have to be running. I am starting to feel the adrenaline myself.