We all do it. We sit down at the desk, turn on the computer, stare at the cursor (It should be spelled CURSE-or, actually …) and then start fiddling with things around the desk: pencils, paper clips, staplers, etc. Then we usually get up and go to the fridge because all that sitting and staring produces hunger enzymes.
So if we are going to procrastinate, let’s do it right:
• If you REALLY want to waste time, log on to Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. I know you think it helps get work done, but no. It doesn’t.
• For added exercise, stock your fridge with expensive ice creams, for those days when nothing’s going on via the blank page. This will not help with your work, but ice cream is always a good thing, and a couple of jogs to the kitchen every ten minutes won't kill you.
• Write near a window. This way you can crane your neck to see the attractive neighbor, watch people cross the street, or check the weather every few minutes.
• The radio: blasting AC/DC or NPR will probably only fry your nerves, but it’s a good distraction from that shitty scene you are writing.
• Keep your cell phone close. You never know when someone annoying may call about something stupid and throw you off your rhythm completely. Having chats with best friends about everything and nothing is often very useful in this regard; or even random calls to people you barely have time for on a day to day basis.
• For pure procrastinative effect, always have your cute dog in the room to play with, or yell at. Having loud friends over produces the same effect. Whichever floats your boat.
• Start flipping through old useless projects – they start to look pretty good after the sewage you’ve been currently writing. Then close your current WIP and start working on the old one. This always induces mass time wastage!
• The internet: oh yes. Always have it on. Always check if you have messages. Always always always. For pure time-screwage, this is key!
• Start dusting your office – because you think this will clear away the cobwebs and you’ll start a sentence soon after. Usually this only induces sneezing and spasmodic coughing and self-loathing.
• Start writing a blog post about how you waste time procrastinating by writing blog posts.
• Always have a television nearby. This will maximize your no-work ethic. Tell yourself you need a break and watch a little Jersey Shore for renewed perspective. Make sure the TV is facing directly at you, or placed so you can see it with little effort. Volume must always be at mid or upper-mid-range to maximize distraction.
• Start reading a book. Preferably a recognized classic so you’ll really get that self-doubting engrained!
• Cookies, crackers, peanuts must always be within reach. And a Rubik’s cube. Hell, keep a Paint-by-Numbers set handy!
• Go do your laundry. Because clean clothes might help the old synapses start firing! This works with showering, as well. You might want to wash your hands every ten minutes, too. Fingernail clipping is recommended, especially when you stare at your own fingers for too long and get disgusted.
• Get showered, dressed, grab a pen and paper, head downtown to your favorite coffee shop, order a Triple Mocha Frappucino and a Biscotti, find a cozy spot in the back, and then start chatting with the waitress or whoever is around because your mind is completely distracted by all the activity. This is usually the best way to avoid looking at your manuscript for extended periods of time.
• Lastly, if you truly want to avoid writing for the day, watch ‘Road House’ with Patrick Swayze. This will make you wonder why your manuscripts have been rejected and this got made into a major motion picture starring Ben Gazzara, thus sending you into a self-doubting tailspin. (Note: this may work conversely – it may make you believe you are Shakespeare in comparison, which is a good thing)