Monday, September 17, 2007

10 Sure-Fire Procrastination Tactics

Let's face it: most of us are no good at procrastinating. We need that extra push from behind to get into procrastination's time-munching groove. We'd much rather re-caulk the bathtub, make those five extra sales calls, or revamp our resumes. But with a bit of practice, and the proper mindset, we can claim procrastination for ourselves, once-and-for-all. Here are some tips and tricks which I've collected from years of watching those around me fiddle their time away:

1. Play Tetris.
For free. This game can go on forever, but since most of us fail at level three, we'll spend hours going back and forth from level one. You can tell people "it improves my hand-eye coordination," which is the excuse everyone uses.

2. Practice Six Degrees of Wikipediation
. Begin by pulling up a big Wikipedia entry - something like "the Holy Roman Empire." Each time you reach a hyperlinked word, click on it and start reading the new page. If you're using Firefox, left click on the word, to keep it from opening a new tab. Try to avoid dead-ends, and see how far you've gone in an hour.

3. Check tomorrow's weather. Turn on The Weather Channel - just for a minute - just to see what tomorrow's going to be like. You'll turn off the TV right after. Promise.

4. Go for coffee. Or tea. Or french fries. At a cafe. Preferably one with lots of people walking by, where you're likely to run into someone you know.

5. Workout.
This is a perfect activity, as it can double as Something That Is Good For You. And it always takes extra time to pack your gym bag, start up the car, drive to the gym, change your clothes, warm up, lift weights, take a couple minutes down time between each set, cool down, shower, dress, get into the car and drive back (home, preferably.)

6. Compile a list.
It can be a list of just about anything. All the conferences you've been to - with the ones you've presented at in bold. Places you plan to visit. What you would do with a million dollars. All the things you need to fix in your condo or home. Jobs you'd rather be doing than the one your doing now. Ideas you have for screenplays (come on, you know you've got them.) Services you pay for that you really don't need (like Netflix.) Sometimes one of these lists can actually be useful.

7. Buy office supplies. Pens run out. Paperclips get lost. Staples get... stapled. Paper gets wadded up and tossed into the trash. Office supplies always need replenishing.

8. Order books.
From Amazon. Topic: Managing Your Life. When they arrive, read them. Take notes on them. Stick the notes in a folder, then go to bed.

9. Google your name. Just to make sure your identity hasn't been stolen. You probably haven't done this is six months or so.

10. Read blogs. No explanation needed.

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