Harperpages

The blog of author Harper Alexander

My Intensive Schedule of Procrastination

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My schedule of procrastination starts early. The first thing on the list is to turn over and go back go sleep at 7:30am, and then again at 8:30. I have to make sure the tossing and turning evens out on both sides, or I’ll be wonky all day.

The second order of business is to stare at the ceiling and try to decide if  I want to shower, then work, or work until I need a relaxing break and THEN shower. (A luxury of working from home).

The ceiling provides no answers aside from reminding me of the fun little fact that I can see shapes in the stucco, and so I spend another half an hour or so looking for objects in the stucco clouds.

Eventually, I tell myself I’m ready to do that one thing that leads to other things: sitting up. I do so, and regret it, but The Cat is ecstatic that all of her poking and prodding and purring has finally paid off and gotten a rise out of me. She’s starving now that it’s 10 or 11am, and even though it’s clear from her physique that she isn’t, in fact, starving, I let the fact that she’s convinced she’s starving spur me to get out of bed long enough to dump some food in her bowl.

The one thing I am swift to accomplish after that is trudging to the kitchen to fix a cup of mocha. I carry it back to my desk with the notion that it’s going to get my day started for me, but by this time The Cat is satisfied with food in her belly, and exhausted from all of said poking and prodding and purring, and is curled up in a disgustingly cute ball, sound asleep, on the bed she made me get out of. Jealousy ensues. All I want to do is be able to go right back to bed, like her, and so I sit bitterly at my desk while she snoozes in my place, glowering instead of drinking that stimulating cup of mocha.

I boot up my computer and don’t complain when it loads slowly.

I haven’t had a drop of mocha yet and so I don’t have the heart to face how many emails might be in my inbox without crying and giving up before I get started, and so the first thing I do is log into Facebook. Family and friends are important, after all, and holding their regard above work is something I like about myself. So I don’t feel guilty.

After scrolling the newsfeed and checking my Facebook inbox, I allow myself to check my business Facebook page. The worst thing that can come at me there is the number of new likes I’ve received, so it’s a safe and encouraging way for me to ‘start work’ for the day.

While I’m there, I look back over the book covers I finished and uploaded yesterday, and I take my time admiring them. Look how productive I am. Look at all these covers I made. Look how nice they are. Aww. I’m so professional. (This is what I call Validation Procrastination.)

After that I move on to Twitter. I resisted Twitter (as in, actually getting an account) for the longest time, but it finally roped me in as a useful business tool as far as building my presence online, and I’m pleased to say it doubles nicely as one of the best avenues of procrastination. It is, beautifully, whatever I need it to be.

I don’t stay on Twitter long. You don’t have to. All you have to do is spend five minutes on Twitter, and you’ve wasted hours of your life.

Next in line is personal email, then a quick peak at my book sales report, then I move on to Youtube and Hulu. Both at once, you ask? Well, since I’ve been using Swagbucks search engine this whole time, trying to earn my ‘Swag Bucks’ for the day by way of searching for things (another important item in my schedule of procrastination), yes, I’ve searched for both sites back to back.

This leaves me with an agonizing decision to make. Youtube videos, or TV shows?  I make sure to take my time deciding. (After all, I wouldn’t want to make the wrong decision).

I’m a responsible person, so I decide just to start up my motivational Youtube playlist of songs, in the hopes that it will help rev me up for the day ahead of me. I can watch TV while I work, as a way to pass the time during some of the tedious details.

The awesome songs on my Youtube playlist end up inspiring a few equally awesome ideas for the book I’m currently writing, so I pull out my notebook to jot them down before getting into work for the day.

I realize I haven’t touched my mocha yet, and it’s getting cold, so I wander out to the kitchen again to give it a second zap in the microwave. I am doing an unprecedented  job wasting time. This causes a little bit of a panicky feeling when I think about the emails piling up in my work inbox, no doubt pouring in even as my mug is on its second merry-go-round ride around the microwave, but a smile of triumph bubbles to my lips.

A hysterical giggle almost escapes me.

Since I haven’t drunk my mocha yet, I can’t start work, so I have to think of something else to do while I actually fuel up for the day.

I check my blog, and then…my other blog. And then one more of my blogs before that avenue sort of wears itself out. At that point I might open the book cover I recently made for the book I’m currently writing, and stare like a love-sick idiot at it for awhile, and open up the brainstorming floodgates so that ideas can stew while I work, hopefully leaving me ready to write up a storm at the end of the work day.

That just leaves me wanting to write instead of work, and so I may jot down a few more notes before grudgingly admitting that if I don’t start work at that point, I’ll be a goner.

For some reason I have two different business email accounts (don’t ask), and so first I check the one that’s likely to have less emails. I take care of the easiest orders of business first, picking off the little guys, so I can dedicate my sole focus to the intense requests later in the afternoon, when I have the heart to look at them.

I pause as often as possible to look at my Paypal account, to see how much money I’m making.

At some point I realize I forgot breakfast, so of course I break to take care of that oversight right away.

After breakfast is taken care of, I may handle one more order of business before I realize it’s also past lunch time.

I take care of that right away too.

After all of this food has gone down, a little voice in the back of my head reminds me that my sister would kill me if she knew I hadn’t had a drop of water to drink yet today, so I make sure to plan 8 periodical breaks in my afternoon schedule to fulfill her standards for my water quota.

I actually do get a lot done during the minutes that I focus, and my emails dwindle. Feeling like I can sanely face my second email account, I take the longest route possible to get to Gmail. New tab, search Google for Swagbucks, search Swagbucks for Gmail, hesitate over which search result is the right one, ‘accidentally’ click the wrong one, backtrack, get it right this time, bam.

30 emails. Why did I check?

I go back to Yahoo. I liked this account better.

At that point I know I need to get some organization going, or I won’t get anywhere, so I pull out the ‘to-do’ list I made the previous day, which lists my priorities for the current day.

Nothing motivates me like realizing it’s 2pm and I haven’t gotten anything on my actual to-do list done, so I blaze through some projects like a maniac. Not bad. Those will pass as drafts. Moving on.

I have accomplished enough now that I feel I can reward myself with an actual break. Time to shower. I need to relax after that maniacal streak anyway.

The shower feels amazing after working as my bedraggled self all day, and I always get good book ideas there, so I lose track of time. In fact, it’s so therapeutic and just what I need to regroup that I decide to prolong the experience, and turn it into a bath.

When I return to my desk, I jot down the story ideas I came up with in the shower. Then, feeling refreshed, I dive back into work for another hour or so. I’ve held off on sending the drafts that I’ve completed to avoid a stampede of replies coming in while I still have other items to get to, so I send those off as I’m finishing up with the last emails.

I can’t wait to move on to my second job for the day – writing. But it’s dinner time when I finish work, or past, and so I do something to take care of that problem. Then I sit down, content, to write, but catch The Cat staring at me as I’m about to take a bite, guilt-tripping me with her big, dependent yellow eyes because her bowl is empty again.

Feed the cat. Back to business.

Of course, now that I’m off work for the day and can write to my heart’s content, I’m not so sure about it.  I’m still stuck in work mode.

I check my to-do list one last time. I really did do everything, so I check my mental Schedule of Procrastination, to see if there are any time-wasters left to fulfill.

Thumb-twiddling. I didn’t do that yet.

So I twiddle my thumbs for awhile. Then I realize ‘you know what goes well with dinner? Dessert!’ And I’m off to the corner 99-Cent-Store. Since it’s just around the corner, I walk. I need the exercise anyway.

30 minutes later I’m back at my desk, cream-filled-chocolate things in tow. I sticky up my fingers nice and good, so there will be no touching the keyboard for another five minutes at least.

Since I’m still in work-mode, I decide a TV show is in order, to help me wind down. Then I can write.

One TV show leads to five.

The Cat decides it’s time to protest the hours of neglect she’s suffered, even though she’s been smugly asleep in my spot on the bed since she kicked me out this morning, so I take some time to brush her, and to wear her out chasing my laser-pointer beam across the walls. At that point I’m exhausted, and I just want her to be exhausted too. Maybe then we can both just get back in that bed.

I succeed in wearing her out, but she thanks me for the attention by sitting in front of me on the desk, blocking the computer while she purrs in my face. Sometimes, she sits on the keyboard itself.

At least one of us writes some words today.

(I do end up getting some writing done, but it’s not until after midnight, so it doesn’t count. And really, at that point it’s just part of my procrastination-scheme when it comes to going to bed, so it’s all really just a vicious cycle.)

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One thought on “My Intensive Schedule of Procrastination

  1. That was hilarious! Nice to know I’m not the only one… 🙂

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