Hierarchy of Procrastination, or, How To Get Shit Done

Why do we procrastinate? Because it is so very, very easy.

There are so many ways to distract ourselves these days, with the internet spewing forth countless wastes of time and technology making it all oh-so accessible. Yet even without reddit and Angry Birds, we are happy to spend hours doing anything but what we need to do.

It’s the reason every student’s room is spotless at exam time, and why people have the sudden desire to learn an instrument when there are important forms to fill out.

Procrastination is an invincible beast. It is always lurking, ready to distract us. Whenever there are assignments to be finished, it’s there. Whenever you need to make an important phone call, it’s there. Whenever you discover a job application that closes in one day, procrastination is there.

Procrastination can not be banished,  but it can be tamed. There is a way to make procrastination work for you. It is a system of productive procrastination, and we will call it “The hierarchy of procrastination”.

The trick is to make a list. Easy, right? Procrastinators love making lists. But that isn’t really the right stationary for making a list, I suppose you should pop down to Paperchase and pick up some list-writing materials. And the list should be colour coded. And we’ll probably need a cup of tea before we make the list. With some freshly baked brownies… STOP.

Make a list of everything you need to do, starting with the small things and building up to the biggest thing. Include something you’ve already done to get yourself motivated, because then you can tick that off, and ticking things off becomes addictive (For those of you who cannot or will not tick, for religious or personal reasons, you may also highlight or draw a smiley face beside your completed task).

So, for example, my list would work like this:


*Make playlist of song that I want played in the movie of my life

*Paint toenails

*Buy milk

*Catch up on Game of Thrones

*Tidy Room (note: this is never not on the list)


*Job hunt

*Sort life out


So, since I have already done one of these things, I get to tick it off my list! I’ll let you work out for yourself which one it is (HINT: It’s not “sort life out”).

Start with something easy, to get the ball rolling and accumulate those ticks! If you complete small, necessary tasks, it makes tackling the bigger ones easier! So even though you’re putting off doing the main task, by getting the little ones done you’re still being proactive and will be filled with that welcome sense of achievement.

Another application of the list is to break down daunting tasks. So, my nail painting task could be broken down like this:


*Wash feet

*Shape nails

*Choose colour

*Apply base coat

*Apply first colour coat

*Apply second colour coat

*Wave feet around to dry

*Smudge and repeat ad nauseum


And thus a previously monstrous task becomes a list of more accessible tasks! So go and apply this system to your own duties, and procrastinate productively!

Disclaimer: You may have noticed that nowhere on my list does it say “Write blogpost re: procrastination. It’s not a perfect method.




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