How to Play the Procrastination Game

Have an important task you have to accomplish, like taxes that have to be postmarked by midnight or an apartment to clean before the other person that lives there returns from a trip. (Whatever creates an impending sense of doom and an unpleasant tightness in the chest will work.)

Then find a comfy chair and a bunch of friends, good dvds, take-out menus, perhaps a pitcher of a frosty beverage — the choices are endless. You will also need a clock.

Look at the clock and start to worry about your deadline mess/crisis/exam.

Decide “Hey, I deserve a little break. I’m not going to get down to work until 2:30.” Always pick the hour or half hour that follows. For example, if it’s 11:03, you are free to do as you please until 11:30.

Enjoy a relaxing little break. Glance up at the clock and feel relief that it’s not yet 11:30.

Repeat.

Repeat. Oops! It’s 11:32. But you can’t get down to work unless it is on the hour or the half-hour. Whew. So now you are again free to take a guilt-free break until 12.

(You wouldn’t think you could fall for this, but you really can.)

Note to doubters: I invented this (literal) pastime one Sunday during my freshman year of college. The very first time I played, I sat in a chair for five and a half hours.

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