Do you procrastinate? Do you feel guilty for procrastinating? That’s fine.
But do you want to procrastinate as a pro? Without guilt or remorse, would you like to prolong any pressing issue indefinitely so that your heart can break free of the shackles with which we all are bound by that cruel master, called Time? Well, read on.
See today is a Sunday and as is customary on Sundays, I woke up at 12:30 in the afternoon. I had a few things lined up for today and as soon as I woke up i knew I have to work hard to finish all of them by dusk. So I sprang out of my bed, did the morning stuff, had a big bowl of cereal and good old cup o’ joe, coz you know, you need a hearty breakfast for a busy day ahead, although in my case it was more of a late lunch. And as of 11:45 PM, I had not even done a single task in my queue. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Oddly enough, I feel proud.
You see there used to be a time in my life that I felt very bad for not being an accomplish-er. I was always late with my tasks and often I would turn in stuff that clearly showed signs of ‘rushed in’ job. Your heart can be very cruel when it injects you with that kind of personal guilt tinged with failure. But over a period of time I have gotten better at overcoming this debilitation, which some call “Need for Self-Improvement”, and I believe today is when I realized that I have truly become a master at the dark art of procrastination. But I am not one who holds his power for selfish reasons. So here I shall present the 5 most crucial ways which when used with at-most vigil shall bring out the true obstructionist in you and make an authority of postponement. A true Procrastination Jedi. Behold.
5. Watch your most favorite movie or read a book
You have always loved to watch this movie, even if this would be the 97th time you will be doing it. You know every scene, every line and even the little teaser they might show during or after the credits. These movies have an emotional bond with you and you can easily pass at least a couple of hours. You can also read a book that you have always wanted to read. Books tend to take longer to finish, with potential for re-reads thereby giving you more time for doing stuff other than what you are actively holding off. This is a great way to procrastinate, especially for beginners in this field.
4. Manage you finances
This is one of the best strategy to use if you are a control freak and have good skill in maths. You see, most of our finances are in ragged shape with unchecked bills, almost due fees and aimless portfolios. When your brain is pressuring you to do something that you really don’t want to do, the simplest strategy is to cause a diversion. Once you start with your personal accounting, the brain gets all busy with calculations, due dates, short and long term fund allocations and it is guaranteed that you will be able to write off at least an afternoon of your day. Of course depending on the current status of your finances, your mileage may vary.
3. Perform other tasks with lower priority
This one is one of my favorites since it has the advantage of giving one a false sense of accomplishment. What you do is, basically, prioritize all the tasks that you need to complete in the order of their importance and urgency and then do them in reverse order. Beware, you will be doing some tasks in the list and therefore accomplish something. But by picking the tasks that are not important or time critical you are making sure that stuff that truly needs to be delayed gets delayed. At the end of the day, everything that you wanted to prolong will still be unfinished and you get the added bonus of completing some of the tasks, albeit insignificant ones. Just make sure you don’t go over board and finish off the list entirely. This way eventually you may end up at the top of the list and accidentally complete that as well. If this happens, don’t panic. Use strategy 2.
2. Research about the task
This is one of the easiest but also a bit tricky one. We have all done this as part of doing anything. Whether it is finding a car deal, an insurance quote or even a girl friend, if you were born in the last 40 years, you instinctively search for it online. You may choose to Google it or Bing it or Ask Jeeves it or, if your age is more than 40, find a book and read about it. No matter what you do, your brain identifies it as working towards accomplishing the task you are trying to avoid and thereby you have, once again, created a diversion for enemy number 1 for procrastination – your brain. The only time this method gets tricky is that with enough research you may actually gather so much information that the task becomes simple and straightforward which means you would simply do it and finish it off instantly. While this may be considered a failure under the Procrastination Jedi Training Manual, the rules are not clear if doing an easy task constitutes a true completion. But its better to be safe than sorry. So, research responsibly.
1. Create a sophisticated schedule for doing the task, later.
Now we have reached the very top of procrastination strategies for we are at the temple of scheduling. Everybody loves to schedule ahead. It gives us a sense of control. People are impressed when you tell them you have a calendar, it makes you seem methodical and busy. Girls flock to a man who lays out his action plan in time segmented groups giving an illusion of having the ability to control time itself. And this, my dear trainees, is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal against the true evil called ‘Immediate Action’. All you have to do is to use one of those countless productivity tools available online, like Remember The Milk or Evernote and then scheme up an elaborate plan of how you will finish the task along with the exact dates and times. Be careful not to buy any of these productivity tools since spending your hard earned money might, in some cases, spur you into action which is exactly the opposite what we are trying to accomplish here. Set the dates into the future, at least 2 days from now, so that you have enough time to alter it and there by prolong it further. Also, be very specific with the dates and times in your schedule and always over-estimate your capacity. This way, even if you stick with the schedule in the beginning, as soon as you slip once it will be hard to catch up. Of course the easiest way to not get into this pickle this deep is to not start in the first place. With enough practice you may be able to push the start date consistently that you can have unfinished tasks for years.
Just by following these simple steps and some perseverance you can become a master of inaction. No matter how important, how dramatic or critical a task is, you, with the steps provided above, can find the steel in your heart to ignore them as long as you want and stay afloat like a lotus leaf above water. The most crucial step in this journey, like any enduring talent, is to practice and practice often. Procrastinate now, and procrastinate often and under no circumstance procrastinate to procrastinate. With heart and due time, you too, my dear friend, shall become The Procrastination Jedi.
Go, and spread the word, as I have here for you, for the generations of the future need your wisdom to prosper.
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