How This MakeUseOf Writer Procrastinates In 8 Easy Steps

how to procrastinateAs you may know, MakeUseOf isn’t staffed by robots that churn out articles daily through an automatic system (you’re confusing us with a few of our notorious spam commenters…). No, we are real people that all have daily lives, and as for myself, I’m a busy guy offline.

However, all of us have our own methods of getting down to the writing. Since I’m not a full-time freelance writer, it takes me a little extra oompah to get myself started. With that in mind (and based on what I’m doing right now), I figured I’d give you a little insight into what I’m doing. Basically, here’s how I procrastinate.

The Realization Phase

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The weekend is when I spend the majority of my time putting my hands on the keyboard. Throughout the week I have a pretty busy schedule, and although I know that there are other people who have a much busier life than mine, it gets a little hectic at times. I often forget what day it even is, so whenever it gets around to Friday night, I kind of panic, knowing that my deadline is extremely close. Granted, I know I’ll always make it, but phew…

The Browsing Phase

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When it comes time to write, I’ll sit down at my computer with great intentions. I think to myself, “Alright, Lockhart. You’re going to write a masterpiece this time. Your adoring public will love you, and you’ll get so many views that you’re just bound to make this article viral.”  I really don’t know why I lie to myself this way.

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The fact is that I’ll get on my computer, pull up a tab for MakeUseOf, and then I’ll think, “Well… maybe one look at Facebook won’t be too bad.”  So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll creep people on Facebook, and then Facebook turns to Reddit, and then Reddit turns into whatever link Reddit sends me to, and five hours later, I realize I still haven’t written an article.  Oh, and I look at cats a lot.

The Dipping-A-Toe-In-The-Pool Phase

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I’ll eventually pull up a new document to write on. Heck, I’ll even pull up my list of article ideas to see what I’m supposed to write next. But that’s all I’ll do. However, for some reason, I’ll think, “You sure did a good job opening a new document to write on, Josh. Man. You are working so hard. Maybe you should treat yourself to some microwaveable taquitos. No… no… I know. Why don’t you fry up some shrimp? Yup. Fry up some shrimp.“

You know what I’ll do at that point? Yes. I fry up some freaking shrimp, and they taste delicious.

The Denial Phase

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While eating my delicious shrimp, I sometimes will fall back on my other plan, and then I’ll go ahead and microwave some taquitos. They often come out very soggy and look very disgusting, but I eat them anyway. Granted, while raiding the fridge, I’ll sometimes see something else I like – say, something like crab cakes – and I’ll microwave those, too.

The sad part is that I know what I’m doing – not writing an article.  It’s blatant and obvious that I’m avoiding it. I’m a horrible person. However, the food tastes good, right?

The Considering-Copping-Out-Of-Life Phase

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While wallowing in my greasy-food-induced guilt and post-bathroom sickness, I will often contemplate life. Who am I? Why am I here? What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? I begin to believe I should hit the road – drop out of school, quit writing, pack it up, and start traveling the country by foot or something. I think to myself, “Yup. I could live off the land, and then I wouldn’t have to write!”

However, this is all really stupid. I’m a city boy at heart – I couldn’t ever do anything like that.

The Courage Wolf Phase

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Granted, somewhere in all of this, I somehow make it through and actually write. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but something triggers it, and I’m given enough courage to bust through and pop something out worth reading (and sometimes not worth reading based on my commenters). I’ll write and research for a while, and somehow, by the end of the day, I’ll have an article of some sort.

It just happens. It’s like it falls from the sky. I sometimes feel as though I have magic hands that type in a mystical manner.

The Girlfriend-Made-Me-Dinner Phase

Now, even though I’ve written an article, this doesn’t mean it’s over. Right before I hit that submission button, I like to review. However, during the review process, I’ll occasionally get that familiar text message from my girlfriend, Ashleigh: “Would you like me to fix you dinner?” You’d think after shrimp, taquitos, and crab cakes that I wouldn’t want anything. HA! Of course, I want something.

So I’ll take another bit of time to go see Ashleigh, eat up some food, watch a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, and then head home. Good times, good times.

The Panic-Because-Of-What-I’ve-Written Phase

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At some point – possibly because I had to step away from my work for a while – I panic when I return to my article, worrying that it will absolutely suck. I think to myself, “Maybe I should just email Mark and tell him the article will be late!” or “Maybe I should just turn in my resignation now – this article will make them fire me, anyway!” Yes, my friends, I worry about everything. It’s not the best quality in the world, honestly.


Eventually, after all this procrastination, overeating, and panic, I finally click that submission button, and the article process is complete. It really is a hassle for me sometimes, though. However, I really do try to avoid all this and get right to work.

Do you write for any other blogs? What kinds of procrastination problems do you have?

Image Credit: mantasmagorical

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