How To Procrastinate

There is a principle by which anything that does not happen ‘now’ is not, in fact, happening, and that fixed points in the future are ‘later,’ and can be dealt with more easily when they become ‘now.’ This is a common cognitive dissonance engendered by people who have poor temporal concepts, possibly by people who are dyscalculic and see the difference between, for example, ‘April 8’ and ‘April 15’ as some impassable distance, given that the number ‘eight’ is possessed of one digit and the number ‘fifteen’ is possessed of two.

The word ‘later’ is possessed of a mysterious power, when pitted against ‘now,’ whereby ‘now’ is an active and vital moment possessed of a wide variety of potential stimuli and ‘later’ looms large from a distance and only appears tiny and capable of inducing some small measure of urgency when it is much nearer.

Procrastination is generally perceived as the province of the lazy, of those who lack enough energy reserves and bold, pioneering initiative to undertake tasks ahead of their time. This is indeed a valid perception [see: college students who are disorganized until the time having some momentous, indelible and life-affirming ‘paper’ due makes them say ‘fuck fuck fuck I’m fucked’ to anyone who will listen]. However, procrastination is also an intangible serum of some potency, whereby people who are generally capable of achieving anything at any given time require the yoke of obligation to motivate them to transmute ‘anytime’ into ‘now.’

It is also applied as a virulent ointment to those who thrive under impossible odds, whereby their production may be of average quality when they are permitted to do it at leisure, but of sheer lightning-excellence should they be obligated to Have This Done By Tonight.

In any event, unless you are a college student adhering to common social norms by being like ‘fuck fuck fuck’ despite having average or above-average facility to complete a task on time, procrastination can be a prized tincture capable of creating miracles in tight spaces, as is commonly seen on formulaic crime and action television whereby the interesting scenes do not occur unless the hero is beholden to a rapidly expiring countdown clock [possibly including an explosive applied to either himself or a global figure of authority/ hostage of some plot significance].

Here are some ideal and field-tested tactics by which to engender procrastination yourself, to improve the quality of various modular elements comprising your life, or to aid the curious interested in experiencing that singular last-minute ‘fuck fuck fuck I’m fucked.’

Employ Logical Organization. Should you have ever received ‘life advice’ from an individual or television program tasked with helping you ‘be on top of your shit,’ you might have been told that all tasks are achievable through a series of logical small steps, or that any ‘mountain’ can be rendered a ‘molehill’ by doing things one at a time. So should you have a massive project looming on your horizon, you should get small distractions out of the way first, such as doing your grocery shopping, organizing your workspace, paying your bills, having a difficult conversation with a friend who is cross with you, unclogging your toilet, replacing the knob on your closet door, doing your laundry, taking a trip to the post office and calling your aunt which you have been meaning to do.

By the time you have completed this list of minor obligations intending to experience a sense of accomplishment and mental relief that should enable you to focus entirely on the one looming task left at hand, you will in fact feel a little bit tired and deserving of a reward, such as a nap that will last until it is time to fulfill your social plans instead of work on your task, or several drinks which will render you incapable of doing anything else except continuing your Twin Peaks marathon.

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://profiles.google.com/taw.woods Todd Woods

    “Read Thought Catalog” would have sufficed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      That's really good

    • Rachel Butters Scotch

      “Write articles for Thought Catalog” would probably also work, I think.

  • Theisraeli2000

    now that's a thought,ill make my mind up later

  • Tom

    …and this dude doesn't even know me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/wingedthing Leigh Alexander

      dude haha

  • http://www.facebook.com/sasjam Sas Jam

    Nice article. I mean I'm sure it is- I'll let you know when I finish it.

  • http://twitter.com/yanyun92 Lim Yan Yun

    I will read this later.

  • Bigbrohoss

    AMAZING.

  • Michael H.

    Wow.  I've been reading your work for a long time, Leigh.  I didn't realize you were following me as well!  ;-)  This list is almost spooky.

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