In this blog post I’m going to reveal a secret super power that I can no longer deny: the power to procrastinate, regardless of how fervently I attempt to focus on the task at hand. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m very good at procrastinating.
Last weekend I realised that I had two assignments due in within a week, and was struggling with one of them (which was affecting my ability to make progress on the other one). I had to take action, so I asked Tristan to change my Facebook password again. I haven’t logged on for a full week, and it’s been great. However, I didn’t factor in how determinedly I can find distractions when I really don’t feel like I’m making progress with my course work.
Here are my seven most recent procrastinations.
1. Planning my next hairstyle
My hair is very long – so long that my son diplomatically asked me if it might be time for a haircut. Upon reflection I realised he was right, so I’m having it cut tomorrow morning. This has given me a perfect opportunity to read numerous Buzzfeed articles about hair transformations. I’m think it’s going to be a ‘lob’ (a long bob, for those of you who don’t deal with abbreviations).
2. Upping my selfie game
The Snapchat filters are an excellent procrastination tool, and if you have a willing young accomplice you can almost convince yourself that you’re not really procrastinating: you’re spending quality time with your children!
3. Checking out a style icon
While I was idling on Pinterest, continuing my hunt for my next hairstyle, I discovered Sarah Harris, the Fashion Features Editor at British Vogue. She’s in her mid-thirties, has never dyed her grey hair, wears a daily uniform of jeans or trousers, shirts or jumpers, and incredibly glamorous shoes, and is widely regarded as tremendously chic. I have become slightly obsessed with her, so I’ve whiled away many moments on her Instagram feed, waiting impatiently for her to update it with a photo of her soon-to-be born first baby.
4. Reading Reductress
How did I not know about this website until a few days ago?! It’s a subversive feminist take on the kind of fake news that The Onion has produced for years. I absolutely love it and, for the past week, when I should have been tackling readings for my essays during my bus commute, I’ve delved deep into its archives.
5. Devising elaborate reward charts
One of our four year olds has been particularly challenging recently (and by ‘recently’ I mean ‘for the past eighteen months’). It was clear that we needed to adjust our parenting style – and when you’ve got two assignments due within a day of each other, what better use of time than reading a couple of parenting books, designing personalised reward charts on Photoshop, shopping for stickers, stick-on jewels, and wooden letters to decorate with the stick-on jewels, and explaining the whole strategy to your husband, au pair, and children?
Fortunately, the new reward charts have led to big improvements in the kids’ behaviour, which is just as well – my ‘no late night study’ strategy has fallen apart this week, and I’m not very tolerant of children’s tantrums when I’m functioning on four hours of sleep a night.
6. Borrowing library books
It’s important not to confuse this procrastination technique with actually reading books from the library. I mean, look at the stack of library books in my room at the moment:
I handed in assignments both yesterday and this afternoon, and I’ve got another one due in next Friday, and another one ten days after that. I have no time to actually read much more than a couple of pages of a novel each day – but do I let that stop me from spending time on the library app, requesting books, and then heading to my local branch on the way to the bus stop? Of course not. How would I keep my bedroom looking so cluttered if I didn’t fill it with teetering stacks of books?
7. Breaking my toes
Admittedly, this is an extreme form of procrastination. It isn’t a tactic that I’d wholeheartedly recommend, but if you want to while away a couple of hours that could be spent productively, I suggest slamming the two smallest toes on your left foot into a bed post, necessitating a trip to the weekend medical centre to see if you need a moon boot. I’m a seasoned professional when it comes to breaking toes by slamming them into things: this is the third time I’ve done it in the past couple of years. But I’ve reluctantly accepted that breaking toes really isn’t a sustainable way to avoid studying (plus: ow), so I’ve celebrated the submission of today’s assignment with a slow, limping trip to Kmart and a $9 slipper purchase. They will serve as a quasi-moon boot, hopefully protecting my toes from further assaults (and the doctor was awesome, by the way… Him: “they probably are broken, but there’s nothing we can do about it, so just try to be careful”; Me: “awesome, thanks for that, let me pay you $50 for your stellar advice”).
Of course, what I should be doing is re-embracing the principles of mindfulness that I learned earlier in the year, avoiding the procrasti-researching I’m inclined to do when I don’t know what to write, and leaving my laptop on campus so I can get a decent night’s sleep…