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How Other People Procrastinate

Friday Procrastination: How Other People Procrastinate

If you're at work right now and reading this, it's likely that you're engaging in your own variety of procrastination. Which would mean that you and I have something in common because I, too, browse the Sugar Network when I'm feeling burnt out! No finger pointing here, ladies, we're all in the same boat when it comes to clicking on that Internet icon on our desktops. Not everyone is addicted to Sugar like we are and get through their days using various creative methods of procrastination. Slate has been running its special issue on procrastination, and most recently released its collection of quotes from a range of professionals divulging their "procrastination rituals." There are over 40 quotes and I've selected some of the best to indulge your procrastinating little hearts!

  • Celebrity Chef, Dave Lieberman: “I sharpen my knives. It’s fun, mindless and pretty convincingly justifiable. The perfect procrastination tool!”
  • New York Times columnist, Gail Collins: "Right now we’re in this new building, and we have huge, huge, huge glass walls—my office has three walls made of glass. I’m on the 13th floor, and right next door they’re building this office building. There’s this crane that dangles things outside my window, and I sit there imagining scenarios wherein something comes smashing through my window. We talk about it a lot here in the office. It takes up quite a bit of the day, but I don’t know what I’m going to do when the building is finished. Maybe I’ll be able to look into their windows."

See the procrastination rituals of a reality show contestant, an actress, a teacher, a rabbi, and a private investigator when you

  • Reality show contestant, Shira-Lee Shalit: “They took away Internet access and cell phones ... so we couldn’t procrastinate in the usual ways. We watched a ton of movies, and went to the gym. … When they wouldn’t let us off the lot to go the gym, I’d literally run up and down stairs, or run around in circles, to blow off steam and try to come up with ideas.”
  • Actress, Zoe Kazan: “There are things I do to avoid getting down to brass tacks and really working on a role. Like, instead of reading over my script and doing all the hard analysis, I’ll go, ‘I should put together a playlist for this character!’ But later, when I’m backstage during the run, I might listen to that playlist on my iPod, so it does end up being useful.”
  • Teacher (third grade), Micaela Blei: "I laminate things that don't really need to be laminated."
  • Rabbi, Daniel Pressman: "People always e-mail me stuff like, 'Oh, Rabbi, you should see this article,' or, 'Click on this YouTube link, there’s a funny Passover video.' The job itself provides opportunities for wasting time. Personally, for me, YouTube is one of the most treacherous locations on the Web … You can get in there and not be seen for a week."
  • Private investigator, Anonymous: “The biggest [way P.I.’s procrastinate] would be creative uses of Nexis. I routinely Nexis myself and people I know using the person locator, which you're really not supposed to do, and just see how much info on you or your friends comes up. … Another specifically P.I.-related procrastinatory activity is going back through the divorce and domestic dispute court cases we sometimes pull for these fund managers and reading through all the salacious details that are usually outside the purview of our investigations, at least in name.”


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