We decided to write a blog post on the top ten ways we procrastinate mostly to see if we could reduce our procrastination techniques to just ten, between the two of us. As I’m sure most of you know, procrastination is an inevitable part of the work day and even more prevalent among writers, forced to stare at a blank page instead of being given a list of tasks. There are myriad activities that can consume our time, while away the hours, prevent us from writing. So much so, that we’ve nearly turned procrastination into an art form. Some days, it’s impressive we get any writing done at all considering all the little projects we’ve managed to find ourselves embroiled in….
Okay, so here goes, never revealed before, our top ten ways of procrastination. Promise not to laugh.
1. Surfing the web. Granted, not the most original way to avoid working but still, number one in our book. However, we both have different ways and means of surfing. Stacy likes starting off with a bit of news like TheNewYorkTimes.com, Gawker.com and Deadline.com (a Hollywood news website). Then she’ll peek in on her favorite fashion sites: GaranceDore.fr, TheSartorialist.com, Themanrepeller.com, Becauseimaddicted.com and JakandJil.com. Sated, Stacy can then face the blank page. As for Valerie, she also likes to start with the news, and then begin the long slide downhill toward pop culture. She’s been known to stare at the “Stars, just like us” pictures in People magazine for far too long. She likes to peruse recipe sites for dinner ideas that generally never materialize, and the occasional YouTube viral video will catch her eye. And then, hopefully, on to work, or possibly, lunch…
2. Lunch. This is a huge time waster and yet, one of the most important parts of the day. First comes the decisions. What to make? Do we have the ingredients? Do we need to pop out to the store (an excellent procrastination technique for neophiles)? And then, there is the actual making of the lunch. The chopping, the cooking, the cleaning. Lunch can be a pretty elaborate affair for the both of us as we like to reward ourselves with a yummy lunch after a morning of serious procrastination.
3. Snacks. Similar to lunch. Same questions arise. But the timing varies. Usually snacks happen an hour or two after lunch and are, hopefully, a reward for some actual writing. Snacks can involve cooking (tea anyone?), blending (smoothies) or just simply a thorough search of the pantry (popcorn, please).
4. Kids. Ahhh, the children. Stacy has three. Valerie has one and they are indeed, genius time sucks. First there are sick children, home from school who must be cuddled with, checked on, cooked for, etc. Then there are children who get sick at school and thereby must be picked up from school and brought home. This can mean an entire work day falls by the wayside. And finally, there are just the everyday, run of the mill children issues that allow us to procrastinate for huge swaths of time. Children come home from school and interrupt the writing (when it’s actually, finally going well) or, when it’s not going well, we’re dying to chat with them, after not seeing them all day. And maybe even play a game of Yahtzee before getting back to work.
5. Social networking. We maintain we’re doing it to help with our book sales, keep in touch with our readers, but the truth is, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest can all be wildly addictive and we’re incredibly susceptible to getting sucked in for hours.
6. Cleaning/House stuff. We both work at home and while we have home offices that are set apart from the rest of the house, it is nearly impossible not to get drawn into tidying up the TV room upon passing it by en route to the kitchen, or rearranging the entire living room.
7. On-line shopping. We think this deserves its own category as it’s not quite surfing the web and it’s certainly not social networking. We both have our favorite sites and can’t help popping in during the day to see what’s new on Shopbop.com, LaGarconne.com or Netaporter.com. Also, there are a number of sites that offer daily sales (like Gilt.com or, for housewares, Onekingslane.com) at specific times of day and, let’s be honest, who can resist a good bargain?
8. Friends. Especially other writers. They’re always popping up on email or iChat or by text to say hello, tell us how they’re blocked or just offer up any and all previously unexpressed thoughts. And what kind of people would we be if we turned down our friends, when they’re in need?
9. The significant other. The checking in with the hubby (in Stacy’s case) or the fiancée (in Val’s case) to see how their day is going, what time they’re getting home. Chat about date night, weekend plans, vacation plans. Although, in both our cases, our men seem to be less interested in procrastinating and it can be tricky to try and tie them up for a while. They tend to resist the pull, damn them…
10. Bills. They’re always hanging around, piling up. And sometimes, right in the middle of the day, just when the writing is getting arduous, it’s a good time to take a break and make sure the electricity is staying on.
11. Siesta. See?? We couldn’t stop at ten, much as we tried. However, the daytime, head on the desk nap is quite rare but when we allow it, it can be joyous. Nothing so sublime as finally allowing our eyes to shut after forcing them to stare at a computer screen for hours. But the nap, like kids, can really allow the day to get away from us so we resist it at every turn, which is where snacks, on-line shopping, friends, the significant other and bills can really be helpful…
Seriously though, we do actually work. A lot. We just also happened to have found a number of brilliant ways to waste time. Can we help it if we’re multi-talented? Hope you guys enjoy reading FROM WHAT I REMEMBER as much as we enjoyed writing it!