1. Don’t keep lists.
The worst thing a procrastinator can do is write down a bunch of things to do that day. Or that week or month. The best approach is to leave your time open so that it can float from breakfast to bedtime in a pleasant, seamless manner of just being one with the universe. You don’t want to be brushing your teeth while worrying about everything you didn’t accomplish in the previous 16 or so hours. Instead, you want to revel in the sweet nothings of the day – the pleasures of Facebook, a long lunch with friends, that movie you watched for the 10th time and the brilliant hues of the sunset. A list of tasks not checked off would just interfere with your sleep.
2. Don’t set goals.
By not having long-term plans for your future, you can simply enjoy the moment without worrying if whatever you’re doing right then contributes to achieving them. If you have nothing to work toward then your time is your own, right? Rather than use that cliché about getting hit by a bus tomorrow so live it up today, I would argue more profoundly that establishing future goals just interferes with the energy in the here and now. And what if somehow you manage to achieve those goals and they do not provide the happiness and satisfaction you’d expected? And you then have to come up with a whole new batch of goals. All of that non-procrastinating time would have been for naught. Better to procrastinate now and regret nothing later.
3. Don’t set deadlines.
This is another no-no. Having a specific date when something needs to be finished always impinges on one’s ability to procrastinate without the weight and distraction of guilt and anxiety. Unless you can set the project’s end far in the future. Very far. Unfortunately, many people don’t have control over when their work needs to be submitted. The only solution to this problem is not to take on any projects that contain deadlines. This allows for unlimited hours of procrastination. The only downside – which I hesitate to mention as it can occasionally oppress the procrastinator’s spirit – is that one may lose a job, client or the ability to buy groceries. This is why we have friends who do not procrastinate. Think about it.
4. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.
Procrastination gets such a bad rap in our ever-busy culture that there will always be someone who will point out that you are not getting anything of any significance done. These people should be avoided at all costs. Even if they are your parents or your significant other or your friends or your boss. While refusing to apply your nose to the grindstone or showing up for a meeting or reporting to your superior to explain your absence could lead to dire financial straights, this is no reason to knuckle down and get the job done. This is because, as we all know, there will always be another job that needs to get done followed by still another. So don’t start down that slippery slope – just say no right off the bat.
5. Don’t let yourself be seduced into buying a big house, big car, big wardrobe and big larder.
The procrastinator’s bane is an excess of material possessions, without which, we’re often told, our life will be meaningless. I don’t have to tell you how challenging it can be to procrastinate when you have a mortgage, monthly loan payments and closets full of clothes you never wear. You will be running on the treadmill of modern life until you collapse and fall off with nothing to show for all that strenuous exercise but a bunch of stuff you don’t even remember buying.
Bonus Tip: If you can’t procrastinate all of the time, at least procrastinate some of the time. It will do you a world of good.