It was during this period of sloth that I had an idea for a short article entitled, "How to Procrastinate." After all, I've been a dedicated procrastinator for a lifetime - plenty of time to amass an impressive list of tactics for delaying the act of productivity. It's my instinct to approach every situation with an understanding that I'll actually do it later.
Not convinced that this article would be marketable? I can assure you that many people out there who look on the procrastinator with great envy. I can't count the number of times someone has asked me, "How can you just sit there and do nothing?" Normally, I just wrinkle my forehead and shrug my shoulders. But I now realize that there could be a very focused person out there, someone who has completed every assignment handed to him a day before the deadline, who would like to know how to stop this habit.
Inspired by this burst of creativity, I quickly threw aside everything I was supposed to do (bills, taxes, term paper, etc.), scoured my desk drawer for a working pen, opened up an old notebook, and realized I hadn't called my friend Evan in three weeks. He was set to leave for law school in a few days, and this would be my last chance to say "How's it going?" without paying a long distance charge. As much as I wanted to jot down my immediate thoughts on the art of procrastination, I didn't want to sacrifice a lifelong friendship in the process.
After a 60-minute conversation, I was ready to sit down and hammer out this piece. Unfortunately, my place was a mess. Damp towels hung off of the bed, clothes were scattered across my room, magazines and newspapers carpeted the floor, and the remnants of last week's meals resembled a museum exhibit on the kitchen table.
While this is the perfect environment for going to sleep, it tends to be a slight interruption when attempting to be creative. Clutter is the core of writer's block. And so I took it upon myself to put my clothes in a laundry bin, the dishes in the sink, the current events in the garbage and the towels in the bathroom. But once you start playing the part of the Cat in the Hat, you can't stop. Pretty soon, I found myself doing the laundry, washing the dishes, and vacuuming the floor.
I paused. My stomach grumbled, and I remembered that it had been at least two hours since I'd eaten anything. I slipped on some sandals and headed over to the pizzeria. It was 10 minutes to midnight. By the time I got back, I was really tired, so I closed my notebook and called it a night.
It's been two years since I conceived of the idea for a how-to guide on the art of procrastination. Although I am not technically finished - nor, for that matter, technically started - I have managed to scribble a few key points down and have every intention of getting this done soon. But not right now.
- Prescott Tolk