How To Procrastinate

December 11, 2007
By Julian McIntosh, Santa Rosa, CA

This will be your guide to procrastinating. I know this has been done many times before but they were really copying me. This has long since been finished in my head, I was just putting off writing it down. So now that I am going to put it to paper you best recognize that this will unequivocally be the best guide to procrastination you have ever read. Now without further ado, onto the guide.

The first step in procrastination is having a task that would be worth accomplishing, and then additionally having a strong desire not to accomplish it yet. Homework or chores are pretty classic examples. But other things that apply would be awkward phone calls or sending back thank you notes after your birthday. If you do not have something you are putting off then it’s just called wasting time.

After we have established what we are trying to avoid, we have to find ways to avoid it for an extended period of time. For me the first thing I always look for is video games or some sort of visual stimulation. Television works as well, but if you play video games you have some sort of effect on what you are watching. Not a video game or television person? Watch a movie, or talk on the computer. But the first thing is do something visual. The reason for this is that it is easiest to lose yourself in something you are seeing. You don’t have to focus, and you can watch for hours on end without noticing what is passing you by.

The next step is food. At some point you will have to grab a bite to eat. This is complicated because if your mom is anything like my mom she spends a lot of time in the kitchen. Also if your mom is anything like my mom she will harp on you to finish whatever you aren’t interested in finishing. You must skillfully avoid any conversation that will bring to their minds what you are trying to avoid. Are you avoiding homework? Don’t say school. Avoiding thank you notes or phone calls? Don’t say grandparents. However, if you do get caught, just tell mom you want to finish eating then go back to your corner of the house. At this point you just pretend like nothing ever happened. The drawback is that if you caught procrastinating again, you captor will be very unhappy. This is all part of the deal though; if you are going to procrastinate, you must take the good with the bad and the ugly.

Once you return to your corner of the house, in a two-sibling household, you may find that your younger sibling has usurped your spot. This is a volatile situation. Most younger siblings, it has been proven are inflicted by what we call the Serena Williams Syndrome. This is where they feel they have to earn the love of the parents. Being the older sibling, you understand this is not true, but don’t tell this to the younger sibling. So if you return and realize that your younger sibling has taken your spot, consider carefully a couple of factors.
What is your relationship like with your sibling right this instant?
Is he engrossed in a videogame where it would be a catastrophe if they were removed?
Did he just perform poorly in a sporting event?
Is either mom or dad unhappy with him for any reason?

If you answered yes to any of these, it is imperative that you speak politely to him and not require that he vacate the premises immediately. Under these circumstances, if you require him to leave the Serena Williams Syndrome will kick in, and he will tell the parents you aren’t doing the activity you are avoiding. One lesson you will learn quickly is that it is much better for you to tell your parents you are misbehaving rather than let someone else break the news. If someone else tells your parents will feel you were lying to them, and their anger will increase. However, if you tell, your parents will think you are honest and may cut you some slack. The sibling dynamic is difficult because if they aren’t removed, you now have to find something else to do.

When the sibling usurps your spot, turn to music. If you are lucky enough to have the same taste in music as your sibling, it is great to listen to music while playing videogames or watching a sporting event. He may even appreciate the auditory stimulation.
Not diggin’ the music idea? Well then you could become a productive procrastinating person. A Triple P, if you will. A Triple P will accomplish other tasks while at the same time avoiding something. If you would rather not look at your math homework you can always do your Spanish or English.
After spending any amount of time procrastinating, one thing is extremely important: You must finish said task. Master Kenny Oser, President and Founder of the Sonoma Academy Procrastination Club defines procrastination as follows:
pro·cras·ti·nate vti
To the tasks of now and out source them to the future

It is important to understand that he says out source, not completely forget or not accomplish. Out source implies postponement, which in turn implies that at some point the task will be accomplished. This you must not forget. Failing to actually finish said task my have real consequences. Your parents may lose trust in you or you may do poorly on an assignment. Additionally, backing out of making a potentially difficult call does not build good values for the future. It is fine to put off doing something, but you must have enough will power to come back and finish it.
If you do not finish, not only will you have disappointed your parents, but you also will have a zero on an assignment or in someone’s heart. And no one likes zeroes.

Procrastination is an essential tool for all people. Vincent T Foss said it best “One of the greatest labor saving devices of today is tomorrow”. Procrastination is a great labor saver for now if you intend to actually get to work later.

In summation, to procrastinate you must recognize your test, and then find out how best not to do for a little while. Skillfully avoid obstacles such as siblings and parents. Finally, however, you must finish the task. If you can do this consistently you will become a master procrastinator.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Aug. 9 2008 at 2:36 am
well thought out, and well written


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