Procrastinators have it rough. To a procrastinator, every day presents a to-do list that will never go away; a procrastinator’s very existence is plagued by a never-ending catalog of things they need to get done and stuff that will have to wait until tomorrow. Even a regular day is a struggle for procrastinators, who have to face the following grave, life-or-death decisions each and every day.
1. When to get up.
Alarms have little to no meaning for procrastinators. It’s not so much when the alarm goes off in the morning as it is how long it’s been since the alarm went off and how much longer you can get away with staying in bed.
2. What to do first.
You definitely have some work to do, but do you really want to start it now? It’s so early and you just don’t quite feel in the groove yet. Maybe you should put it off until later and get something else done now… except then you’ll have to do it later. Maybe you just shouldn’t do anything.
3. When to go to the bathroom.
You kind of have to pee now, but you can always wait a little longer. If you get up now, your concentration will be broken and you’ll never be able to decide which project you should tackle first, even though it’s been three hours and you really should figure out what you’re doing with your day.
4. What to do after you’ve gotten back from the bathroom.
Now that you’ve gotten up, you feel like you should take a break. All this sitting isn’t healthy, anyway, and you’re clearly not going to start anything anytime soon. Maybe taking a break will help you focus and summon the energy to get something done.
5. Should you give in to your routine or ignore the routine and get a head start?
You really should just sit down and get things done, but you won’t be able to concentrate if you don’t check all your regular news sites and your multiple emails, then spend at least an hour on Facebook. Do you try to force yourself into working or do you give in to your urges and spend some time catching up with the Internet?
6. Whether you should take a nap.
Maybe you’re not feeling motivated because you’re still tired. Taking a quick nap will re-energize you and make you ready to seize the day! Just half an hour… or maybe an hour would be better. A short two-hour nap and you’ll be good to go.
7. Whether it’s time for another snack.
Food gives you energy. You need energy, therefore you must need food. And you clearly need it in the form of an elaborate snack that will take 15-45 minutes to prepare and consume.
8. How many lists you should make.
Lists will help you organize your day. First make a checklist of everything you need to do today, then make a sub-checklist for each item. If you list things you’ve already done, like eating breakfast and brushing your teeth, you can cross off a few items and feel like you’ve already had a productive day.
9. If you should check Facebook/Twitter/Instagram one more time.
You’ve already checked each one about four times, but you still feel unsatisfied. What if something huge has happened since the last time you checked?
10. To coffee or not to coffee.
If you drink coffee, perhaps that will provide the physical and mental boost you need to stop procrastinating and actually get something done already. On the other hand, by the time you’ve gotten up, made coffee, prepared it exactly to your liking and started drinking it, your concentration will be totally destroyed. In an hour, you’ll be exactly where you were before, except now you’ll be overly caffeinated.
11. Whether cleaning is a legitimate excuse for not doing anything else.
Your day can’t really be wasted if you’ve cleaned things, right? If you work in an office, sometimes the most important decision of the day is whether to get some work done or totally ignore that work in favor of dusting your cubicle, wiping it down with antibacterial wipes, spraying your keyboard with compressed air and recycling a whole bunch of useless papers that were really bothering you. If you work from home or have schoolwork to do, your options are even broader: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, organizing… a whole world of domestic cleanliness is within your grasp, and no one can tell you that it’s a waste of time. Although if you decide to clean, you’ll probably just end up putting that off, too.
You’ve got a huge project/paper/exam due tomorrow, but you have the entire night to do it/write it/study for it and your computer is just sitting there, begging you to use it to watch stuff on. Your Netflix queue is loaded and — oh shit, they’re taking away two of the movies you wanted to watch. Maybe you should watch them; technically you’re being productive, since you’re watching movies that will no longer be available in two weeks. You’re buckling down and getting things done.
13. If you should ever research anything again during your lifetime…
… because you know that within 10 minutes of when you started looking things up, you will be so far down a Wikipedia hole that there’s no coming back. Even when you start out with the best of intentions, you’ll end up reading up on the different species of tortoises and looking on Amazon for tortoise terrariums.
14. Do you work out now or later?
Getting it done now makes you feel like you’re putting off your other work, but if you put off exercising until later, there’s a good chance you just won’t do it at all.
15. How many Food Network shows you’re able to cram into one day.
This is extremely important. If you’re going to procrastinate, you’re going to do it right, and if doing it right means watching 12 episodes of “The Barefoot Contessa” followed by at least three hours of “Chopped,” then damn it, you’ll make that sacrifice. Someone has to find out what Ina is making for Jeffrey this weekend!
16. Whether you should commiserate with a friend or not.
If you text someone in an attempt to get them to motivate you, you might just end up texting each other for the next two hours.
17. How much work you can put off until tomorrow.
Even if today was a total loss, it’s OK; there’s always tomorrow. Tomorrow, you’ll magically get everything done that you were supposed to do today in addition to all the work you have to do tomorrow — and maybe you’ll even get a head start on the next day’s work. Either that, or you’ll procrastinate some more.