Procrastination is truly an art form. In college, I often found myself the night before a big project was due, sitting on piles and piles of notes, staring at a blank computer screen wondering “How did I get here?” One could argue that the average master-procrastinator works best under pressure. That they are fueled by the panic of an impending deadline. That the adrenaline alone is a better energy boost than a 16 oz can of Red Bull or a quad shot of espresso.
The following Idea Guide is for those who are typically well thought out, pre-planners. Those who are excellent at giving themselves plenty of time to finish their projects, work a little at a time and generally get an average of 8 hrs of sleep a night. Be prepared to have your world turned upside down!
First, you need a project and a due date. For example, let’s use this blog post. I started this post (until about the last sentence) almost a month ago! I know, right? How do I do it? The trick is, it’s due tomorrow. So rather than spending the last three weeks collecting research, writing a little bit every day, revising, having it reviewed by my peers- I’m just gonna do it ALL RIGHT NOW.
Here are some things I did besides write this article. All of these are great ways to do literally anything other than what you’re supposed to be doing right now.
1.) Watch gif Recipes on Your Phone or Computer
You know how sometimes you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see a friend of yours has shared a one minute video, usually shot from above of phantom hands showing you how easy it is to make mouth watering food? My favorites are from the group Tasty. The problem with these mesmerizing mini videos, is they’re usually accompanied by some sort of soundtrack. This isn’t conducive to an office environment. Thankfully, the thoughtful folks over at Reddit have a solution! The subreddit Gif Recipes is nothing but an endless list of your favorite one minute video recipes in a convenient (and silent) gif format.
2.) Practice Your Skills With TypeRacer
Oh, you haven’t heard of TypeRacer, yet? I mean, it’s not new or anything. It’s a free website where you can test your typing skills against strangers. You’re assigned a virtual car, and given a block of text from a book, movie script, etc. Your car moves along a track at, you guessed it, the speed you’re typing. Boy, is it mindless! Best part, it kind of looks like you’re getting real work done as you’re furiously typing away, eyes fixed on your screen. Fool your coworkers!
3.) Play With the Office Supplies
Yesterday I started my first ever rubber band ball. Occasionally, our mail carrier leaves us bundles of mail wrapped in more rubber bands than is necessary. So far, I have yet to need them for any other purpose than holding mail together, so this leaves me with little piles of giant rubber bands all over my desk, in the closet next to my desk, on the floor… just now I found a whole cup full of post office rubber bands in a drawer. It’s small, but I anticipate that this rubber band ball will, much like a fine wine, only get better with time.
Other ideas for this category are, mindlessly sharpen pencils, make paperclip chains, etc.
4.) Window Shop the Entire Internet
Did you know that you can create an amazon wishlist that includes items from any website? You can shop the entire internet and save everything you wish you could have into one convenient list, right on Amazon! Man, the internet is cool. So here’s how you do it- make a free Amazon account if you don’t already have one. Then, download the Amazon Assistant browser extension. Once you’ve done that, you have a handy dandy little widget at the top of your browser window. When you see an item in an online store you want ( like this perfect office appropriate and still super duper cute dress I just found on modcloth ) you just click the widget and it allows you to add the item right to your amazon wishlist. Once you’re done shopping on one site, you can hop right along to another and when you see another item you want (like these incredible doc marten boots that would go with that dress and fit my girly-but-also-not-even-a-little-bit style sensibilities) and put that item on the very same wishlist. You’re welcome.
While writing this article, a good friend of mine and BCL member, Molly, helped me out by distracting me for half an hour. She entertained me with some personal tales while I wrapped rubber bands together (see item #3). I shared with her that I was writing an article on procrastination (like… currently, like right now my laptop is open, and I’m making a rubber band ball. Clearly I’m more than qualified to write this. I’ve got a Phd in Do-Nothing). Molly went back to work (what an amateur!) but impressed me by sending me a link to a website called Free Rice! Free Rice is… well I’ve been playing it on and off for the last hour now, a time-killing game that makes you feel like a good person at the same time. Procrastinating for a cause! The site gives you a quiz on a variety of topics. You can choose from categories such as humanities, english, math and chemistry. A correct answer turns into a rice donation for the hungry. An incorrect answer does not, but there’s no penalty. In fact, the game never ends. If you answer a question wrong, the game just gives you an easier question. This is dangerous only for productivity. Because really, it’s okay to put off what you should be doing if you’re feeding hungry people.
This list hardly even grazes the tip of the iceberg of things you can do other than what you’re supposed to be doing. I hope that, while reading this article, you could have been doing something else. What are some ways that you procrastinate? We’d love to hear! Leave us a comment, get in on the discussion.