Monday, February 12, 2007

10 WAYS TO BE BUSY ALL DAY AND NEVER ACCOMPLISH A THING!

Ever since I quit my waitressing job last fall, my life has been one that takes place largely in a little room. There I pace, and think; I listen to music, eat chocolate, inhale deeply, and exhale people who may or may not exist in one long sigh.

Though my characters are not based on anyone I've ever met, no one could ever convince me they're not REAL. How does that work? I have no idea. My job is not to question why, just to get back to the little room and listen.

Then, as I've been telling you on a daily basis, publication came, and I had to leave the little room. Put on eyeliner and lipstick and two socks that matched and go out and tell my story. Such as it is. I used to be a waitress; now I'm a writer. Or I was always a writer; I just pretended to be a waitress. Or maybe I'm pretending to be both...See what sitting in the little room alone too long will do to the brain?

Anyway, today was the first day in a whole week that I got to do what I do best:stay home and WRITE. So what did I do with my marvelous day? I took out the Procrastinator's Handbook, and personally tried every strategy.

What did I discover? If you want to kill time (a tragic metaphor if I've ever heard one) it's easier than you think.

10 WAYS

1. Sit around and think about every single person who's ever been mad at you or mean to you, and mentally go through the reasons that it's so unfair. (This could not just kill a day, but it can, and HAS, annihilated entire lifetimes.)

2. Use the internet to obsess over your place in the universe. The possibilities are endless. You can google yourself, go to Technorati and check your blog rating; and if you're a writer, there's always your Amazon rank...not that I know anything personally about these narcissistic activities.

3. Before you write a single word, or do a constructive thing, make sure you have the perfect beverage at your side, and that it is maintained at the exact temperature you prefer.

4. Think frequently about the chocolate, almonds, Danish waffle cookies, and leftover burritos in the kitchen. Maybe even get up and make sure they're still where you left them, and that they're just as delicious as they were yesterday.

5. Check your e-mail at least once every fifteen minutes. You don't want to miss anything!

6. Phone messages, too!

7. Read the ten most e-mailed articles from the New York Times before you begin. After all, a writer must be well-informed.

8. Take a nap. You'll think better if you're well-rested.

9. Realize that it's 3 p.m. and you're still in your pajamas. Egads, family will be coming home soon, and will not understand how busy you've been all day.

10. Take out the self-help books, and read up on procrastination. Tomorrow you will definitely do better.

67 comments:

Lorna said...

so sorry to have been missing you; my blogroll slips in and out of the blogosphere, and I happened to catch it today. We're on a wonderful holiday out west and I can't wait to get into Vancouver later this week to look for your book.

MB said...

Patry, you are very funny. Thanks for the laugh.

gerry rosser said...

Or you could obsessively jump over to Flicrk to see how many people have looked at your pictures, commented them, faved them.

Too funny. I am the world's worst procrastinator.

Lisa, Amy, Hannah & Lynne said...

Ha! Don't forget going for walks (it's important to ponder the WIP); organizing one's desk (how can one organize one's thoughts if the work area is a mess?); and commenting on others' blogs (caught me). Okay, back to work.

Amy

Marilyn said...

Procrastination is an ART...and I'm happy to report that I'm quite creative with it. Sounds like someone else is, too. ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh no, I think I'm number 11 in your day of tiny (but wonderful)accomplishments! I'm so happy to hear you Google yourself too. I sometimes jazz up my Googling by adding quotations. I know, snazzy.

You've inpired me to accomplish something other than reading my yoga magazine. I'm going to heat up some water and start plotting a book.

xoxoxo,
Tish Cohen - who should really just get a blogger account and stop being anonymous.

Patry Francis said...

lorna: Enjoy the holiday, and let the blogroll slip and slide where it may! See you when you get back--well, sort of.

mb: If I couldn't laugh at myself, I'd be crazier than I am. (Wasn't that a country song?)

gerry: I almost forgot that one--though no one comments on my photos but you.

amy: Three absolute imperatives--especially the one about commenting on other blogs. If you hop from one to another, you can easily scatter an entire day...

marilyn: When we meet, we'll have to compare notes!

Patry Francis said...

Tish: Oh, but our long phone conversations are SO productive. p.s. I don't know any writer who accomplishes more than you do! If that's procrastination, then I want a jar of it. Economy size.

Matt said...

Number 5! I can't live without Number 5!!

robin andrea said...

Some days are just like that. Ideas must be percolating. They need quiet time of procrastination, in which to flourish.

Fred Garber said...

Patry...sorry...I am going to read your post tomorrow...if I get around to it....I promise...sort of....

paris parfait said...

You're so funny, Patry! Amazon.co.uk has apparently dispatched the missing book, although it still hasn't arrived. However, I've listed it in my sidebar as recommended reading, in the hope that it will finally arrive and I can read the much-anticipated wonder that everyone is raving about.

rdl said...

I think you deserve a break!! and I agree with Marilyn - it is an art. Some of us are the best little time wasters in the world.

The Curmudgeon said...

See, first I go to the office.

Then I procrastinate.

You have topped me again.

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Sustenance Scout said...

I agree with Robin Andrea...percolating. Maybe we should change the word from procrastinating to percolating. Much better! Seriously, though, don't you feel like when you finally do get around to writing ideas appear from apparently nowhere? So all that procrastinating is actually quite productive. I think you're on to something, Patry!

ainelivia said...

Hi Patry, Amazon had promised me The Liar's Diary by Feb 1st, and I waited patiently, and it arrived on Sat 10th. Have reached Chapter Twelve. There is for me an undercurrent of tension and menace. Most of the menace coming from Gavin. (I'd love to get him with a custard pie, the control freak!) The Narrator feels very true to life, I can imagine millions of people whose lives resemble hers in some way; all that unspoken stuff that's not talked about, just lurks.

Becca said...

Patry, I think you've earned a procrastination day!

This was a funny post, and I've done all these things many times in an effort to postpone the inevitable -WORK!

BTW, finished Liar's Diary in two days - you totally surprised me with the ending! Good for you!

Patry Francis said...

Matt: #5 is probably my personal favorite.

r.a.: I hope that's true; no hour is truly lost. The mind, the heart, is always on the job.

fred: As long as you read the book TODAY...

tara: Thanks for that lovely sidebar mention. Hope the book arrives soon!

r: I think you helped me perfect the art...

the perfume guy: I"m so excited! You're back!

curmudgeon: In this case, I don't think exelling is a good thing. Good to see you here again. I've missed you.

k: Sometimes yes, and sometimes, well, procrastination is just that.

ainelivia: How cool to think of you sitting in your "flat" in England reading my novel. One question: are you more an Ali or a Jeanne?

becca: Two days! How fabulous! And if that's you on the Amazon review, it's much appreciated.

ORION said...

I loved this -- Ever since I have been blogging all my spare time gets sucked into the internet!

Patry Francis said...

orion: You mean you can even develop a blog addiction on a boat? I'm impressed.

KG said...

Wow, based on your list, I think I'm a professional procrastinator!

Now about those naps: they are good for the heart! Just read about it in the news yesterday while I was procrastinating. (Really, they are relaxing and destressing, thus good for the heart! I'm serious!)

My new favorite procrastination activity: music videos on YouTube. Ooops, I probably shouldn't have shared this... ;)

So good to laugh — thanks! (And that magazine cover is really funny, too.)

Patry Francis said...

kg: If only we were paid by the hour...

herhimnbryn said...

P ut desk in order
R ead newspaper
O pen mail
C lean laptop screen
R eply to emails
A sk partner for a cup of tea
S it and gaze out of window
T elephone best friend
I nvestigate a new blog
N eaten piles of paper
A sk partner for a choc. biscuit
T idy up stationary drawer
E legantly swan around in PJs

ainelivia said...

Interesting question Patry, and one that has been on my mind two. I think its a bit of both, but I think more "plain Jeanne" than Ali, mostly because my pragmatic side more often seems to win out over my "wild" side these days.

cadelinse said...

PS. Did you know that Richard Lawrence Cohen is blogging again?

Therese said...

Oh, this made me laugh!

When I find myself in procrastination/percolation/distraction mode (more often lately than I'd like), I pack up the laptop and head for a book store.

If I work at B&N, I get the most done--I'm not willing to pay for Internet access there! Ditto for Starbucks. And wow, they have good things to drink to keep the creative electrons moving!

gerry rosser said...

This is my second comment to this post, since there's no new one today--

Happy Valentine's Day!

Patry Francis said...

herhimnbryn: What a wonderful response! I especially love your "e".
When I swan around in pjs, I hardly ever do it elegantly, but I have such an image of it. The pjs must be silk, of course, and the slippers high heeled sling backs.

ainelivia: You may not be wild, but you clearly have Ali's creative soul...

cadelinse: That's great news. I'll have to pop over...

therese: That's true! You also can't get up and walk around in circles, talking to yourself about the plot instead of actually WRITING it.

gerry: Same to you and your sweetie!

Kerstin said...

I just ordered your book, Patry! Been meaning to do so for ages - talk about procrastination! And now I can't wait to start reading it :)

Patry Francis said...

Thanks, Kerstin! I can just see you sitting out on your new front porch reading it--though not on a day like today!

Avus said...

Silken pjs and high heeled sling backs sound good to me - must try them some time (although Mrs Avus might not approve).

I used to be the world's worst procrastinator, but these days I just never seem to get around to it.

Patry Francis said...

Avus: You gave me two great laughs in one short comment. Good job!

Pearl said...

You've hit enough nails on the head that you've probably built a birdhouse...which is also a good way to go off task.

donna said...

Oh, yeah.. I need to get around to reading the rest of your book....

Marewheeee said...

Procrastination, my constant companion. My personal favorite on your list #9.
Swan-ning about in my pj's...hmmmmmmm....not if 'dorm' pants and an oversized tee could be construed as pajamas.
Artists all!

sarala said...

I think I am the ghost writer on that procrastinator book or maybe its inspiration.

JT Ellison said...

I have one to add. Find a close writer friend, call each other three times a day to check each other's progress and be sure to spend at least 30 minutes per call.That'll suck up LOTS of time...
Excellent, Patry. I plan on procrastinating with THE LIAR'S DIARY this weekend.
xo

Terri /Tinker said...

Don't forget checking the temperature/weather on the web to see if it matches what you're seeing out the window...reading every comment on each blog you visit so your comment is original - well, I skipped that one, this time - so on the down side this may not be all that original - but on the plus side, this may actually indicate a trend in overcoming my own procrastinating tendencies!
Thanks for the laugh - Happy Valentine's Day, Patry.

Patry Francis said...

pearl: Building a birdhouse! What a wonderful image. Makes me realize that I forgot to list "watching the birds." But that's got to be productive procrastination, right?

donna: That's one task you better not procrastinate about.

sarala: If I looked a bit more like the guy on the cover, I would have thought someone was looking in my window...

mary: Oh, dorm pants and a big tee shirt are great! You can even go out and get the mail without causing the neighbors to look askance.

JT: Reading my book? Now that's the kind of procrastination I heartily support. P.S. And the next time you want to compare notes about writing progress or the lack thereof, let me know!

terri: I'm pleased to report you can now cease reading blog comments forever; you are entirely original. But then again, you might miss something. The comments here tend to be better than the original post.

Happy Valentine's Day to all--though I just looked at my clock and noticed 2 things:

1. It's over.

2. It's way past my bedtime.

chiefbiscuit said...

Don't I know where you're coming from! And of course there's always the 'read a good book' delaying tactic - a good book like 'Liar's Diary', which I am thoroughly enjoying and have just about finished.

Patry Francis said...

chiefbiscuit: Thank you so much! How amazing it is to think of the book being read in places I've only dreamed of seeing.

Left-handed Trees... said...

(sighs with wonder) even your comments are witty and fun...personally, I know the procrastination has hit a seriously dangerous level when I actually (gasp!) find myself willingly sweeping the kitchen floor or emptying the dishwasher...hope you're coming through yours okay!
Love,
D.

Patry Francis said...

delia: It usually doesn't go THAT far with me. (Right now the dishwasher is full, and there's a stack of dirties piled in the sink. But I DID have a great writing day.)

paris parfait said...

Patry, at long last, your book arrived! I'm so excited! Posted about it today.

Buffy said...

Just found this blog through Gather.

Loving every minute of it.

radiogirl said...

My apologies! I linked but forgot to comment. I think I probably got distracted by the need to get a new beverage to add to the three varieties I usually have on my desk (because you never know what you might want to sip at any given moment!)

AnnieElf said...

This was so funny. I have personally tried 2,3,5,8,and 9. Ten is on my must do list. I'll have to peruse the shelves at Borders for books on procrastination. LOL, Annie

Patry Francis said...

tara: Yay! I have to check it out immediately!

buffy: Love these cross-connections!

radiogirl: I've got my coffee and my water at my side right now, but 3, you say? I'm suddenly feeling deprived. Welcome to my blog!

Patry Francis said...

annieelf: We must have x-posted. While you're at Borders, check if they're carrying my book (if you have time, of course.) I'm always curious about where it's placed.

woman wandering said...

Paris Parfait sent me this way and I'm glad she did. I recognised so much on your list ... congratulations on the book too.

floots said...

no time to comment
too busy reading and enjoying your book
how does it feel to have one foot in scotland :)
cheers

Patry Francis said...

ww: Thanks for wandering this way. Paris always sends the coolest people.

floots: You're reading the book! How wonderful! Here's hoping that one of these days my other foot lands in Scotland as well.

Crashdummie said...

Omg, I've been a professional procrastinator without knowing it!

Thank you so much for updating me - maybe i should just go to my boss and demand a raise!

Patry Francis said...

crashdummie: Let me know how it turns out; I've been negotiating for years, but the harder I work at my procrastination, the less money I earn. Go figure!

radiogirl said...

Patry, it's usually coffee, soda and water, but sometimes I also add tea and/or hot chocolate, and they are all on my desk at the same time! Which is, of course, dangerous for the computer and printer, but I like living on the edge.

Thank you for the welcome; I think I shall enjoy your blog very much!

Patry Francis said...

radiogirl: I've ruined a couple of keyboards with my coffee spills, but I remain incorrigible.

Anonymous said...

i. am. guilty.

~ruby

colleen said...

I always procrastinate the most when something big is brewing. I know it will take over so I want to be ready and have things in order, sort of like getting ready to go on a vacation. There is a big push before you start.

And my blog statement reads: Whenever I don't know exactly what it is I'm doing and it borders on wasting my time, I call it research. (or fiddling as opposed to working).

tammy vitale said...

your book arrived! Can't wait.

Patry Francis said...

ruby: Maybe we should start a support group?

colleen: I LOVE your blog statement. A very glass-half-full attitude!

tammy: Come back later and tell me if you like it!

AscenderRisesAbove said...

very interesting list of ten. I identified with at least one of them -- but I am not saying which one. ;-)

Devon Ellington said...

Delightfully funny.

Um, yeah, you ARE a writer who had to PRETEND to be a waitress. No doubt about that!

Enjoy!

Patry Francis said...

ascender: Only one??

devon: I'm SO happy to hear you say that.

Meanwhile, to all, the only place I can seem to post on this blog is in the comment section. I'm feeling desperate, and get no responses from blogger when I ask for help. Maybe I need to transfer to another server? Any suggestions?

Irene said...

I LOOOOOOVE this.

Patry Francis said...

Thanks, Irene!

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