Work, man. Am I right? Some days you just can’t get it together. Deadline pressure be damned, sometimes it’s more important to see who in your hometown has been arrested recently, or make sure you have enough paper towels in the house. Because. I DON’T KNOW, YOU JUST NEED TO, ALRIGHT?
If you have a ton of work to do but can’t quote motivate, procrastination is the name of the game. Here are some things you might wanna try. I may or may not* have done some of these.
1. Rewrite your to-do list. Realize your handwriting is not as nice as it used to be. Buy cursive writing workbooks and special-lined paper on Amazon so you can practice re-learning the cursive alphabet.
2. Make lunch. Alphabetize the condiments in your fridge door shelves. Realize you would rather have them grouped by flavor profile. Remove all bottles and jars, wipe down the door shelves, wipe down the bottles, check expiration dates, rearrange.
3. Scroll through your iPhone photos to delete the ones you don’t want anymore. See the one you took out the window on a flight to Los Angeles with an R carved into a mountainside. Google what it is and spend 4 hours Google-mapping hillside carve-in letters throughout the west.
4. Teach yourself the rap parts of Guns & Ships from Hamilton. Practice in the mirror. Try to look like America’s favorite fighting Frenchman. Try different hairstyles while listening to/rapping the song on repeat.
5. See an American flag with gold fringe, and Google why that is done. Click through to the hundreds of cray-cray patriot conspiracy theory blogs about how gold fringe means you’re enslaved in communist a foreign territory … not that you’re in an American courtroom, as the fringe technically implies.
6. Take a bath. Pour and drink a glass of wine before stepping into the tub. Get sleepy. Take a nap. Wake up six hours later.
7. Wonder whatever happened to Lauren Holly. Do a Google image search. Realize she and Reba McEntire have the same plastic surgeon.
8. Research the legalities of having a penguin as a pet.
9. Revel in the satisfaction you get from cleaning every light switch plate in the house with Q-tips, paper towels, and spray cleaner.
10. Think about biscuits. Dream about biscuits. Go to the store and get all the ingredients to make biscuits. Make biscuits. Eat biscuits. Nap.
11. Make an iPhoto folder of all the photos you want to have printed and frame to display around the house. Realize you don’t have that much surface space for photos, really. Spend an hour on Overstock.com looking at console tables to put behind furniture so you can have more room for photos.
12. Watch “how to apply eyeliner” tutorials on YouTube. Try it at home in tiny bathroom magnifying mirror. Look like a deranged cheetah with SARS.
13. Draw plans to turn your guest room into a walk-in closet. Look at photos online of the Kardashian closets. Sigh heavily.
14. Need to stretch? Move the furniture away from the walls and scrub the baseboards.
15. Read the police blotter online from your hometown newspaper. See who from high school has passed down the petty crime gene.
16. Discover how many words rhyme with your dog’s name. Say them out loud to him. Make up songs with those words. Sing them to your dog.
17. Organize your unused Field Notes notebooks. Realize how many you have. Think about how agitated the Field Notes user community would be if you just threw them away. Put them back in drawer.
18. Think about how to build a wall of succulents in the kitchen.
19. Paint each fingernail a different color. Realize it looks stupid. Remove all lacquer. Try again with one color. Smudge nails getting mail out of mailbox a half-hour later. Start all over again.
20. Think about doing the Whole30 diet. Read the recipes and think, “This wouldn’t be all that hard; this stuff looks pretty good, actually.” Make and eat a box of mac and cheese for lunch. Nap afterward.
21. Start writing a spec script where you are the wacky female sidekick to Kevin Hart and The Rock.
22. Try to teach self to use SnapChat. End up posting Snap of yourself looking confused and sporting 16 chins. #cameraangle
23. Create a Pinterest board of all the tattoos you might someday (never) get.
24. Do a cookbook purge. Load them into the car and drive around putting them into Little Free Library boxes around town.
25. Six hours later, drive around town to see if anyone has taken the cookbooks you were trying to give away.
26. Be mad when they’re all still there.
27. Search the Social Security Administration name popularity index to find that your first name only ever cracked the top 5 once, in 1941.
28. Post a Facebook query asking friends if they know anyone you could hire to not do laundry, but just fold and put away laundry because it’s the worst chore ever. Delete post 6 seconds after publishing because you don’t want to sound like a spoiled princess douchebag.
29. Think about ways you can become friends with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
30. Turn Minecraft on just for the music. Stare at TV screen with Minecraft on; do no work. Play Minecraft using nephew’s account and hope he won’t notice next time he logs on. Fend off creepers. Feel like a badass.
31. Research the legalities of having an otter as a pet.
32. Digitize all your cassette mix tapes from high school. Say “AAaaawwwww” out loud every time one song rolls to the next.
33. Record yourself trying to sing in autotune voice. Delete.
34. Take a lunch break and drive to TJ Maxx to browse and maybe buy a pair of tights. Come home with $400 of merchandise, of which you’ll return $300 worth the next day when you come to your senses and realize you will never wear the Stevie Nicks skirt and tunic that looked cool in the store but makes you look like an Oompa Loompa having a cameo on Little House on the Prairie.
35. Gently dust and polish the leaves of your large, waxy-leaf houseplants because you can probably get a cuter Instagram that way. Forget to Instagram it when you’re done.
36. Hose out and scrub outdoor garbage cans. Wonder if garbagemen will notice and be thankful.
37. Clean out your podcast feed. Delete things you subscribed to because you were trying to be a better person (“This American Life”) but that you pretty much hate and never listen to because everyone has that weird public radio precious way of talking where they insert “sort of” 16 times in every sentence.
38. Delete a ton of books from your Goodreads list because you added a lot of them when you were drinking wine that one night.
39. Make a list of all the good food you’ve had in airports across America. Deep fried mac and cheese balls dipped in ranch dressing at Denver International Airport in 2002, I’m looking’ at you!
40. Open Feedly reader. See there are 9,437 unread articles. Close Feedly.
41. Make a pile of all clothing that needs to be altered, repaired, or fixed in some way. Let that pile sit on your dryer for 8 months. Donate to Value Village.
42. Think about that amazing Thai meal you had in Chicago 4 years ago. Go down a YouTube rabbit hole of green papaya chopping videos.
43. Spend an hour creating a Microsoft Live account so you can dance-battle your friend in LA over the Xbox Kinect.
44. Make next week’s dinner reservation under the name Jackie Jormp-Jomp. Get bummed when uptalking fetus taking the reservation has no idea how hilarious that is.
45. Search and pin on Google Maps every place you’ve ever vacationed or traveled for business.
46. Make playlists of all the songs played in each season of “Mad Men.”
47. Call your best friend from college and reminisce about all the places in the nation’s capital where you threw up on the way home after drinking in the bars.
48. Go to the thrift store, find a vintage gossip bench. Stop at the fabric store for new seat fabric and hardware store for paint on the way home. Leave it in basement for 3 years.
49. See recipe for grilled sardines in food magazine. Drive 30 minutes to fish market to buy fresh sardines. Leave them in fridge for 9 days. Throw away rotten sardines without ever having used them.
50. Write and delete approximately 629 subtweets.
51. Go down a rabbit hole of Jm J Bullock googling.
52. Make packing list on Evernote so work travel is easier to prepare for. Spend an hour or two on formatting little checkboxes and subgroups with smaller checkboxes. Never actually finish list.
53. Beat yourself up for not flying to Oregon to visit your kindergarten teacher before she died, because you really regret not thanking her in person for being so amazing.
54. Scroll through your phone to delete apps you never use. End up downloading more apps that are supposed to be better than the ones you deleted.
55. Page through the menopause clothing catalog you got in the mail and order a seersucker snap-front house coat with embroidered flowers. Don’t tell anyone about it. Until now.
56. Fight with a stranger in an online forum about which era of “General Hospital” was the best.
57. See the photo an old high school friend posts of you with crimped hair. Order a crimping iron on Amazon to do a “now” picture to go with her “then.” When crimping iron arrives, put it in linen closet. Never open it. Find it 4 years later when cleaning out closet for bathroom renovation.
58. Watch season 4 of “30 Rock” because you’ve only seen it 49 times, and you feel like being able to say you’ve seen that season 50 times is a better story.
59. Buy an electric pencil sharpener and a box of pencils. Sharpen the fuck out of them. Get high off the smell.
60. Make a list of what screen names you would pick today if AOL chatrooms were still a thing.
61. Start a Pinterest board of hair with cool color streaks on the underside of one’s hairdo. Think about what color you could do that wouldn’t be too obvious but would be, like, your own little badass secret.
62. Open TheList app. Wonder what an Office spinoff with BJ Novak and Rainn Wilson could be about.
63. Stare at your pores in a magnifying mirror. Buy $350 of Murad products online.
64. Wonder how many eggs that fat robin sitting on your porch railing is gonna push out. And then how many of those eggs will get eaten by raccoons once she lays them.
65. Wish you could be the kind of person that pastes pretty images into journals and has some artistic skill to doodle every day.
66. Compose hilarious story-driven texts using Kimojis, only to find out none of your friends have them installed so they just get texts with a bunch of boxed X symbols.
67. Research the legalities of having a fox as a pet.
68. Clean out the dog treat cupboard next to the fridge. Find a stash of 8 boxes of Ziploc freezer bags in the back. Make lists of all the vegetables you’re going to blanch and freeze once summer comes.
69. Mason jars. So many of them. They were on sale AND you had a coupon. You’re never going to use them. Keep a few for flowers and give the rest to your canning-freak friends.
70. Spend 6 hours researching all the ways to “cut the cord” and get rid of cable TV, knowing full well that your career demands you have access to 24-hour cable news so why even bother, CAROL.
71. Download a bunch of free books to the Kindle app on your iPad. Never read them. Like, ever.
72. Reopen Feedly reader. You now have 11,612 unread articles. Delete all.
73. Think about what the sound effect “skkkrrrrronnnnnk” could apply to.
74. Browse real estate listings in Los Angeles even though you’re probably never going to live there.
75. Wonder how easy or difficult it would be to ask doctor about getting hospitalized for exhaustion, just to get a few days off.
76. Rewatch old iPhone video of nephew when he was four years old, singing “Beth.”
77. Recall you enjoyed making charcoal pencil drawings when you were a kid. Go to the art store for a sketch pad and charcoal pencils. Start drawing (even though you are a terrible artist) because the pencil on the paper feels really good. Accidentally lean on drawing while reaching for iPhone. Ruin white shirt.
78. Create a rewards-driven list of how to celebrate crossing off things on your to-do list over the next 2 weeks. Do not actually do the things on said list, but make a list of the stuff you’re going to buy yourself when you do.
79. Think about two of the old blogs you read back in the day before blogs became a “thing” — Poundy, Pamie — and wonder what they’d blog about now if they were still blogging (even though both are very successful professional writer/editors).
80. Clean your fountain pens. On your white writing desk. Spill all the blue ink. Stain desk. Search online for West Elm promo codes to replace white desk.
81. Buy a Kylo Ren pen and call it Kylo Pen.
82. Get mad when Alexa doesn’t answer when you say “Siri.” Search for a hack.
83. Make playlists of music to integrate into Zombies, Run app. Never open app again because running is stupid and it hurts and is not fun.
84. Think about giving up dairy. Go immediately to co-op to buy cheese curds and chocolate milk as a way to say farewell to your favorite food group.
85. Begin planning your lunch options at 8 a.m. At 12:30, call to order your lunch only to find out they aren’t open until dinner time. Think about whether or not to slam them on Yelp for such a shitty business decision.
86. Make fun of those dumb Facebook recipe memes like “23 slow cooker freezer meals you need in your life!” but then click on it and buy a bunch of ingredients to make slow cooker freezer meals. Make them. Eat them. Love them. Still mock them.
87. Follow a bunch of embroidery and crewel craftswomen on Instagram because you wish you could sew or be crafty in some way.
88. Take apart your four-color pen and write with all four colors at once.
89. Delete everything in your Netflix and TiVo queues because you stupidly add everything everyone else loves and you never watch any of it.
90. Re-teach yourself the choreography to “Rhythm Nation” because you’re going to see Janet Jackson in concert over the summer and you want to impress your friends.
91. See the news that Janet Jackson has canceled her tour and think about ways to slam her on Yelp.
92. Open Evernote to clean out your Evernote “To Read” folder. See you have saved 429 articles to read. Close Evernote.
93. Plan a three-day vacation at the family cabin, alone, to read. Books, magazines, nothing online since there is no internet access there. Count the days until you can be there. Get giddy when you’re less than 30 days away.
94. Decide the best way to transfer work bags and purses more easily is through effective grouped-item pouch use. Go to TJ Maxx and buy lots of pouches. Find another stash of them in your closet when you get home because you had the same revelation and did the same buying spree six months ago. Still don’t put things in pouches. Stash all bags of pouches in linen closet.
95. Dig thrift store gossip bench out of basement. Buy new paint and fabric for it. Give it a makeover and then realize you have nowhere to put it in your house. Cram it into a nook in your office where it will look uncomfortable for the foreseeable future, but never get rid of it because it’s the one semi-crafty thing you’ve done in life that didn’t look like total shit.
96. Plan a podcast series. Plan another. Never record any of them. Get mad when someone else does it instead because you know yours would have been better.
97. Rearrange your bedroom furniture. Put it back because you liked it the old way. Nap.
98. Have a good cry. For no reason other than you are overwhelmed with work and can’t quite seem to get your ass in gear.
99. Make a big list of all the things you do when you procrastinate. Read it. Calculate how much money you could’ve made in all these hours had they actually been billable.
100. Stare into space. Sigh heavily. Get the fuck to work.
*all of them. I have done all of them.