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What should I do if I'm a procrastinator?

How to avoid the pitfalls of being a procrastinator...

It lurks around every corner, seeps into our bones. It finds a way to dislodge you from your task and take you down a very winding road, maybe a maze, until you are completely off-track. We all know what we’re talking about, let’s not put it off any longer: procrastination.

Words by Take Note Transcriber Laura

It’s a well-known fact amongst those who work from home that no freelancer cleans their oven unless they have a deadline. Sure, you might wipe it from time to time, and I have even been known to scrub mine when not dead-lined, but really, I am content to leave it, saying, “How Heston Blumenthal of me,” when the unmistakable pungency of treif permeates my apple crumble from some bacon that was grilled over five days ago, or the scent of an out of season mackerel seeps into my roast potatoes.


The face of a procrastinator. Happy she has the time to really dedicate herself to the cleaning task at hand

Then, when a deadline hits, I say, “Gosh, that’s disgusting, I can’t bear this for a minute longer,” and out comes the steam cleaner, the toothbrush, and the peremptory Google search for methodologies – vinegar versus baking soda (it’s a judgement call), bleach spray (don’t use it, it doesn’t shift grease so much as discolour it), and unscrewing the grill plate and soaking it in lemons overnight (I won’t go to these lengths, even when I’m procrastinating).

Perfect Activities for Procrastinating

For me, procrastination o’clock is when the sink gets unblocked, the fuse box gets dusted and the windows get cleaned. It has to be vaguely work related – scheduling dental work, helping the kids next door with their homework, listening to Rihanna sing about work will do, but domestic stuff really hits the spot for me.

ignore me

Do you need cleaning too, Mr Elephant?

Other Classic Procrastination Go-to’s

My partner, a self-confessed sewing machine avoidant who had not touched a needle and thread since Textiles Class, made a self-lined version of the Balenciaga One Seam Coat, complete with home-shanked buttons and a fur trimmed hood, whilst a deadline approached. I once arrived home and found my housemate had cleaned the spice drawer (months of turmeric tamarind sludge disposed of), but also re-labelled and alphabetised everything, from asafoetida to Za’atar. When I realised the bookshelf had also been arranged in colour order for LGBT history month, I accused her of avoiding her thesis.

spice jars

That turmeric sludge couldn’t spend a minute longer in the drawer

Disguised Procrastination

Some people have perfected the art of disguising procrastinating. This is not something you can achieve by cleaning the fridge. You have to be in the usual workplace arena, doing something that looks like work. My go-to is Google. I go on Google, ostensibly to Google a word for transcription, and enter an Internet black hole of researching capsule wardrobes, watching the more colourful TED Talks from San Francisco, or realising my life-long passion for string theory (a passion that promptly leaves my life the exact same second I submit my work).

jennifer lawrence quote

What she said…

The Benefits of Procrastination

I offer so many ‘interesting facts’ to my friends during these times that Google should hire me part time to advertise their services, or at least have me on a retainer for every time I say, “I was Googling the correct hyphenation of wishy-washy and came across this fascinating article about the rise of South Korean underground hip hop,” or, “I bet you are dying to hear about what Ginuwine has been doing post the ‘90s,” (he got a divorce, unrelatedly almost went bankrupt, and is doing okay now).

Voluntary Work in the Field of Procrastination

In the noughties, a friend of mine replied to a Gumtree ad written by the parents of a dissertation avoider who offered to pay a considerable sum to someone who would stand in their son’s bedroom and ‘speak sternly to him’ whenever he stopped typing. My friend thought his charge was doing okay until it was discovered that he was writing science fiction stories about a dinosaur who worked in a post-dystopian fictional city’s municipality instead of his dissertation on Kant.

cartoon grand canyon

To help you out here are some anti-procrastination tools to add to your armoury:

Apps: They are a procrastination unto themselves. However here are 5 useful ones to help you out.

Links: And then there is thing where rather than washing the dishes they suggest you eat your frog.

Books: Lengthy tomes on how to beat procrastination. The struggle is real folks!