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Unproductive procrastination techniques
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Unproductive procrastination techniques

It’s Week 7, so I think I’ll take an inventory. Here is a list of things currently sitting atop my dresser:

  • Deodorant
  • An unopened bottle of soap (????)
  • My Kindle
  • Headphones
  • A million earplugs that I’m too lazy to throw away even though the garbage can is … not 7 feet from the dresser
  • One (1) red water bottle
  • Vitamin C gummies that are running dangerously low
  • Glasses cleaner and that little cloth thing
  • Chapstick that is kind of falling apart but that I use anyway
  • Keys
  • Emergen-C (like three packets)
  • An orange that’s been sitting there for who knows how long

And let’s move to my desk:

  • Folders and binders stacked on top of one another in such a way that I literally cannot see what they hold or why they are there
  • Desk lamp. Unused since Week 2 of fall quarter
  • Ear plugs!!!
  • An almost empty box of Clif bars
  • Febreeze
  • A book containing James Baldwin’s short stories

(At this point I had to actually get up from my bed to look at my desk table up close. I am a super dedicated journalist. Anyway, onward.)

  • One (1) Rubik’s cube, hidden in a corner
  • Huge box of more Emergen-C (my mother went a little overboard)
  • Two (2) different kinds of nail clippers??
  • A lot of papers that are kind of spread out all over the place… I’m too scared to look at them
  • One of those homesick candles that has been sitting on my desk since I got back from winter break

Now, at this point (and if you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed), you are probably wondering why I am listing the various items scattered about my room. The answer is, quite honestly, that I am running out of ways to procrastinate — not to mention out of time — and I still have a midterm to study for (tomorrow), a paper to write that is worth 25 percent of my grade (due Friday), this article (due tonight, i.e. Monday 2/20/17 at 11:59 pm) and an interview to prepare for tomorrow. And I’ve been procrastinating all weekend.

There is something inherently evil in three-day weekends that forces us — or maybe it’s just me? — to procrastinate in the most unproductive ways possible. And perhaps this particular long weekend is especially bad because it’s Week 7, and I hate everything or maybe because this holiday honors our current president — either way, I hate it. Monday seems to have snuck up on me, and here I’ve been, doing absolutely nothing productive, instead finding every possible way to procrastinate as unproductively as possible.

So, here is a short list of fun, unproductive procrastinate-y things that I did this weekend that you can do, too!

  • Complain about how much work you have and how stressed you are rather than do anything about it. Vital. How anyone gets any work done without complaining about it is beyond me. Of course, how anyone gets any work done in between complaining is also beyond me. Have I mentioned how messy my room is?
  • Have Facebook open at all times. Wouldn’t want to miss those opportunities to scroll endlessly down your timeline, watch Tasty videos and elevate your stress while accomplishing absolutely nothing.
  • Check the time every five minutes. Super helpful, especially if you’re up against a deadline. Each time check will increase your stress levels tenfold!
  • Text your mother. She’s always good to complain to. Also sure to yield some unwanted (but sorely needed, I guess) advice. Plus that reminder about choosing flights home for vacation!
  • Gaze forlornly around still messy room. Do not clean up. Instead, continue feeling miserable about how messy your room is, and obsess over how long it will take you to clean your room when you could be doing other things.
  • Consider doing laundry. Reject. Let it pile up! 😀
  • Consider the library: Work in silence, at last! Spend time organizing and packing your bag. Go outside. Realize it is raining. Head back to room. Repeat several times until nearest library closes.
  • Watch Netflix while stressing about how much work you have to do. Continue watching Netflix anyway.

All of this has led to me, here and now, on Monday at 8:06 p.m. (did I mention the time?), stressing out once more. Well, at least one thing is done now. Maybe I should do something else productive while I’m at it … like getting to cleaning my room so my parents don’t flip out when they visit in four days … hmm. Or I could watch another Tasty video.


Contact Matt Bernstein with productivity or decluttering tips at mbernstein ‘at’ stanford.edu.