Tips on how to procrastinate professionally

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 9.03.52 AMBy Rebecca Childs | Staff writer

Obviously, I did in-depth research on the subject, or I will, eventually.

Rule No. 1: Put it off for later.

“Procrastinators are perfectionists” is a myth. Well, it isn’t true, but procrastinators are productive. Procrastination never means doing nothing, I should know. When you don’t want to do work, you must justify it. Paper on the Epic of Gilgamesh due and you haven’t gotten past the cover? Logical response: “This is going to be a long night.” Procrastination response: “It’s going to be late anyway and this feels like a Homeland night.” The problem there is one word “late.” This kind of behavior gives procrastinators a bad name. Procrastination is about sucking the marrow out of the bones of life i.e. doing what you want with no consequence. “Late” has its own consequences.

Therefore, Rule No. 2 is ‘abide by deadlines’.

Making lists is an important step in being a successful procrastinator. You’ll not remember all your backed-up responsibilities otherwise. If you spend all week trying to break the world record for most paper footballs landed on your neighbor’s roof, there is a whole week’s worth of work awaiting you on Sunday. Clearly, that’s because Saturday is your off-season.

Rule No. 3 is ‘prioritize.’

It’s Sunday night now and you still have not begun. It’s time to prioritize: figure out what combination of work will get the most work done, and fast. It is time to find the easy way out, which a true procrastinator is just inventive enough to do well. Keep it legal.

More importantly, Rule No. 4:Be productive.

About being productive–maybe catching up on Homeland and breaking world records aren’t within your definition of productive. Most procrastinators do more than that. There is always a reason for procrastination, may it be pride, sloth, or mental wanderlust. That musician you know, he’s a procrastinator. After seven hours slowly proceeding through “Ode to Joy” on a beginner cello, then, maybe he’ll do his work. Some people read; some people draw; some people cook; some socialize. To each his own, procrastination is about enjoying what little down- time we each can afford; in this age, it seems we have forgotten that humans are not machines. A Harris Interactive study showed that in 2012, the average American had nine unused vacation days! We all need a break sometimes, some more than others. Everyone procrastinates sometimes. When work is unpleasant, we retreat to our pleasant escapes, and practice makes perfect. So, perhaps, that musician we were so gently speaking of is the next Yo Yo Ma. That is, if he procrastinates well.