Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I'm running with Ms Batville's baton today.

Five ways in which you procrastinate:

1. Blogging (durrrrr)
But I take this further -- I procrastinate within my procrastination. I have a list of serious posts to write and every now and again I add a few words to the various word files bubbling away in my computer... but all I seem to come out with at the moment is trite little posts like this. I'm not in a good headspace at the moment.

2. Reading
This is probably my oldest and dearest form of procrastination, and unfortunately one my mother tolerated because it kept me quiet and meant that I was doing something that helped my schoolwork. And again, there are layers of procrastination within reading too: my bedside pile has a few books that are worthy but not as engaging as others that barely sit on the top of the pile and are seized immediately, or as those on the shelf that one is reminded of whilst reading a particular and have to be re-read straight after. I quite like it when that happens; I have a little book that lists my reading, and some months I read without pattern and other months I can see the connections threading through from book to book until I am seduced by something completely different or I've run out of puff.

3. LibraryThing
A new and all-consuming procrastination that will only stop when I run out of books (or room to store books). I've logged in 954 books and there are and lots to go. I try to limit myself to ten books a day, but it can get a bit out of control. I've also started cataloguing the AP's books, gawd help me.

4. Making things
Little books, drawings, origami out of cinema tickets, cakes, cat toys, anything but the things people want me to make. If I'm asked to draw five cartoons, I'll draw at least four more that have nothing to do with anything before I can even think about starting the commissioned ones. It's not about the drawing, it's about the headspace.

5. Housework
This is a very rare thing, and is only utilised when all else has failed or looks too self-indulgent. Housework is a socially acceptable procrastination, because no-one can criticise you for doing it.

I've come to realise that procrastination is a vital part of my working life. There's a distinct cycle: [a] I think up the ideas; [b] I do nothing about them for ages (and this is where the procrastination comes in); [c] I get a huge rush of adrenalin and do a lot of stuff at once, drawing upon the ideas that have been brewing while I'm distracting myself; [d] I collapse in a heap. I'm not sure where I am in the cycle at the moment -- either deep in [a] or [d]. I'm just waiting for ideas or adrenalin. It doesn't make for good blog reading, so I apologise!


Anonymous said...

Reading is not a form of procrastination! (tho agree with you about procrastination re: list of books you should read, etc). Reading is life.

serious blog posts? heh!

Anonymous said...

Reading should NEVER be seen as procrastination - well, maybe only if - during a "really good read" - one has to alleviate the tension/take a break/save it up for later and then one can 'dip into' a few other things-needing-reading whilst waiting for the appropriate time to resume the "RGR"...??

Ampersand Duck said...

Well, there's reading... which is like breathing, and can be done in the daily time(s) you *make* for it (thus allowing you feel smug when people say 'when do you find time to read?') ... and then there's the deliberately naughty reading with the full awareness that you should be doing SOMETHING ELSE. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

Ron said...

When it comes to doing things you like and want to do compared to 'chores', then the former wins hands down.

Where are in our graves for a long time so who cares about a bit of dust on the mantelpiece. As long as the family has clean clothes (even if they are unsorted and unfolded in a washing basket) and food I just don't care about the rest (my partner doesn't feel the same way but that's another story :-)).

Anonymous said...

Quentin Crisp, shocked at being questioned about housework, remarked that dusting was a completely useless activity once you had mastered the art of putting everything back into exactly the same spot it always sat in, therefore not revealing the gleam of the undusty surface.

Boysenberry said...

Ahhh, procrastination... the lifeblood of my days :)

Have you ever considered work as procrastination for other tasks? That is my particular bent. I suppose it is very much like your number 5.

Ampersand Duck said...

gotta love Quentin, bless his fuzzy little heart. I've always been fond of that fridge magnet that says 'this house is protected by a thin coating of dust'.

Mmm, work as procrastination? It's so crazy, it might just work...

Mummy/Crit said...

Procrastination is my middle name. If I'm not procrastinating I'm not alive. Currently procrastinating: housework of all sorts except the washing; hanging out the washing; finding the last bits for the accountant to do the tax with; getting married; renovating the house; making a cup of tea; cleaning up the library at work (My boss rang me this morning to say "aren't you coming in today?"); having a second child...

I like your point 4, needing the headspace to do the thing you've been asked to do is important, and they'll get better cartoons out of you that way.

JahTeh said...

The last thought I have at night is "tomorrow morning I will do..... and then I can play with my blog". Sometimes it works but not often.

byrd said...

ha, when i was in high school i found the word printed large somewhere and stuck it above my desk. whence i would awake from whatever internal space to find myself staring at the word again and again and again.
chin up my ducky friend heads are cloudy spaces at best, and you never know till much much later that what escaped was silver threads. You just gotta keep throwing them out eh!