Procrastination can strike from two angles. Either you’ve been blessed with an unexpected window of free time or you’re t-minus 30 minutes to failing out of grad school thanks to your unfinished thesis. Whatever the underlying reason for this block of time is or was—the promising light of accomplishment can be easily dimmed at record rates. There is nothing worse than finding yourself at a faceoff with free time. Whether you’re writing a paper, drafting an invoice, finishing up work from home or finally have time for the DIY of your dreams—all of your excuses flew out the window and its time to shift into fifth gear.
Some people say there is no time like the present and others say that’s a load of bullshit, the present is for Kardashian and Housewives reruns. Here’s a step by step list of warning signs (and tips—mostly tips) for the next time you’re faced with an unpleasantly placed slot of free time.
Step 1: Stare at the wall.
Assuming your primary location to be your bed, this is a preliminary task that will take your procrastination woes from zero to sixty. When I’m first faced with my free time I like to stare at a wall and ponder my guilt: waste of time ratio. The wall won’t talk back, lend advice or judge. It’s the perfect fixation while you bite away at your nails and pick your poison for the next hour or so.
Step 2: Take a selfie.
Now not only will this garner the most likes your Instagram account has seen in weeks, it will provide you with an ongoing excuse to check into your social media platforms throughout the remainder of your free time. Don’t be rash and impetuous with your picturesque pose—make sure you are doing it right. Pick a piece of clothing that you’ve been dying to dress up and solicit to your adorning audience. Once you’ve selected the basics of your outfit, complete the make up (hair gel/styling for men) to accompany your new fresh look. Take a few preliminary candids through your camera roll—and don’t be hasty when selecting your filter. The better the pose, the better potential for a large amount of likes and a long-lasting guaranteed distraction.
Step 3: Find a marathon on TV.
When you become a more experienced procrastinator, the darker your distractions turn. I usually like to settle in nicely with a SVU marathon for two main reasons: I feel vicariously productive while Benson and Stabler (most likely) get justice and secondly—they just never end. You can’t rid the streets of crime in one night and it will be 3AM before you know it.
Step 4: Facebook.
It’s time to stalk those people you refuse to interact with in person. Sure, FB is a little passé—who really uploads photo albums anymore—but with Instagram and Twitter feeding into your newsfeed on the reg it’s kind of the Mecca for social media. It’s the foundation for your deepest, stalkiest desires and if you wait long enough, that unanswered lingering question about your ex is sure to pop up sooner or later in the form of a tweet, regram, tumble or pin.
Step 5: Respond to texts.
Have you ever gotten a text message and sighed? Not the person you were hoping to hear from? Well, procrastination is the portal to maintaining all friendships. Each text you ignored, every missed call and every declined Facetime—now’s the time to make up for lost time. That cousin you forgot you had. That sorority sister you wished never pledged. That coworker you wish didn’t have access to your phone number. Well it’s time to make amends and respond. It doesn’t matter if days or months have gone by as long as it gives you sweet relief from the newfound tidal wave that is your temporary, overbearing freedom.
Step 6: Clean your room.
You can never go wrong when cleaning your room. Clearing out your space is cleansing. It will give you a new perspective to approach your looming projects. Go through your sock drawer, only keep pairs that match. Dust on top of your armoire. Remove and discard any daddy longs legs hiding in the crevices of your ceiling. Wash your underwear and sheets. Whatever cleaning means for you, just make it happen.
Step7: Make a list.
Last but not least, make a list. This step in critical for any chance at decreasing your guilt: waste of time ratio. The second you make a list of things you need to do is the second you break through the ultimate procrastination barrier and can redefine your entire experience. The list represents a physical entity and is an acknowledgement of your responsibilities. You are responsible and you are recognizing. Kudos. For increased comfort sleeping abbreviate a weekday next to each task on the list. Designate a time and let your suppressed planner fly free (another day).
Step 8: Make a drink (optional, but recommended).
Not only is one red glass of wine a day good for your heart, after a long day of peril and planning its also good for your soul. You’ve spent all day thinking about what you need to do. It’s been a long uncomfortable battle between your mind and your actions. You deserve a drink.