People have many, many different strategies for procrastinating things they don’t want to do. I like to do dishes, fold laundry, make beautiful color-coded to-do lists, sort mail, organize papers and folders…anything that feels productive but isn’t what I really need to do.
I’ve heard of this being called “productive procrastination” before; the process by which you do one thing on your to-do list to avoid another thing on your to-do list. At some level, so long as I’m moving forward it counts as forward! But at another level, things can only get put off for so long before a) they expire and b) they start to stress me out because I know I’m avoiding them. So I try to engage in productive procrastination cautiously.
Of course, there are a lot of other things I do to procrastinate. I read anything, be that fanfiction, regular fiction, or on the rare occasion the news. I have definitely gotten sucked into the Harry Potter Mystery game (which will likely feature in next month’s nerd blog post, so watch out for that!) I have a list of favorite YouTube channels, including Super Carlin Brothers, Peter Hollens, and Malinda Kathleen Reece, The Piano Guys, and CGP Grey that I adore wasting time on. These things are just straight up procrastination – there’s nothing productive about that!
I would like to quickly point out that there is a very important difference between procrastinating something and taking a break. Procrastination is an avoidance behavior where the ultimate goal is to not do something else. Taking a break is a self-care behavior where the ultimate goal is to rest and refresh. When I watch this video by Malinda Kathleen Reece and her friends singing “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, I’m purposefully engaging in lifting my mood and taking a break. When I proceed to click on three more videos about that movie without really deciding to, now I’m procrastinating. (Yes, this definitely happened. Tonight.)
But I still haven’t told you about my favorite procrastination behavior, and that is procrasti-baking. Haven’t heard of it? It’s about to be your favorite new thing too!
It sounds like what it is; baking instead of doing whatever to-do list item is at the top. Sometimes when I do this I use one of my go-to-I’ve-had-this-memorized for years recipes, and sometimes I try something brand new and complicated. It depends a little bit on how much energy I have and how big the thing I’m avoiding is!
The second-best thing about procrasti-baking is that I get a tasty treat at the end. But the very best thing about procrasti-baking is that I currently live by myself, which means I get to share. Generally, if I’m stressed about a school thing, my whole department is stressed about the same school thing; leaving a tray of brownies or cookies in the science office is a beautiful thing for everyone.
Does this make me a super-young department mom? Yep. But then again, I do claim the old-lady part of myself, so I’m totally fine with that!
My favorite go-to recipe is my chocolate chip cookies, which I’ve posted about before.
Your homework: How do you procrastinate? Do you differentiate between procrastination and taking a break?