Procrastination and Other Drugs

I’m thinking about buying the game Minecraft.  I know I’m a bit behind not owning it, and buying it would make my sister (who is obsessed with the game) so happy, but I’m a tad concerned about my preoccupation with buying it at this particular juncture because of what it means, that it’s that time of the season again.

School is in session and I am all geared up and ready to…procrastinate!

Because my goal this year is to get straight A’s (or four A’s and a “pass”, which is the only “grade” I can receive from my internship), I thought I’d write out my Top Five Ways to Procrastinate, listing them out will help me think up ways to avoid and overcome them, and I figured if I’m writing them out I might as well share them with all of you!

So, here goes nothing.

My Top Five Ways to Procrastinate

1) Play video games.  In my (nonexistent except in my delusional fantasy world) spare time, I’m a bit of a gamer.  Not hardcore, mind you, but I’ve been acquainted with a joystick or two.  My favorites of the moment are Don’t Starve (which is a beta indie game about survival in a Gothic-inspired, demon infested, alternate dimension) and Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (I played the original and all its subsequent incarnations, sequels and side-stories, so this is an old favorite reborn).  Typically I keep my game play to a reasonable minimum, but when school is in session,  it becomes a chore pulling myself away from the tree chopping and kobold slaying (little bastards come in packs of ten with fire arrows!!).

Breaking the Habit: Right now, my method of putting this procrastination fix on hold is to shift to another addiction on this list, but it only lasts for so long.  Now I’m taking a cue from Felicia Day.  She’s an actress, writer, Youtube sensation, and gamer that I’ve been following on twitter (@feliciaday if you’re interested).  She doesn’t tweet often, I imagine because she’s so busy with running her successful Youtube channel but every now and then she mentions having an “hour to play” some game or another, usually as a reward for having gotten some big project done.  This seems to me to be the best way to motivate myself to do homework and also nip this bad habit in the bud.  I’ll do homework for an hour, take a twenty minute or so game break, then do another hour of homework.  We’ll see how that goes.

2) Browser Window Shopping.  In the digital age, window shopping has never been easier.  I’m already at a computer, my mind is numb from having to read about Life History Theory again, and although I may not have any money, there’s no reason why I can’t simply browse through books on Amazon or build my if-money-were-no-object dream PC on  CyberPowerPC or  assemble my fantasy wardrobe on Modcloth.  Of course, this is all just a gateway drug, because eventually surfing the shopping sites leads me to Youtube, and Youtube leads me to a video of a cat chasing snow and suddenly…suddenly…hours of my time have flown by and what have I been doing?  Watching the, albeit adorable cat, pounce through white powder and not learning a single thing about how Life History Theory ties in to Cultural Evolution and behavior change as adaptation.  Do you see how this is a problem?

Breaking the Habit: This one is tricky.  The web is literally at my fingertips, and I am a few keystrokes from window shopping addict’s heaven.  I can hear Etsy calling my name right now, and gosh darn it all, there are way too many cute octopus necklaces on that site than ought to be legal.  I don’t know why I’m obsessed with the tentacled-beasties, I swear I don’t!!  That being said, I need a way to get on the wagon and fast, I just don’t know what it looks like or where it’s going.  I’m thinking this one might have to be a rubberband trick.  You know the one, put a rubberband round your wrist and flick it every time you go to do the bad habit (run of the mill behavioral conditioning).  Except, instead of a rubberband, I think every time I feel the urge to window shop, I will put my computer to sleep and take a ten minute break (stretch my legs, get a drink or snack).  This should give my mind the obviously much needed refresher, and keep me from getting sucked into a spiraling vortex of cute kitty-dom that will rob me of my entire study time.

3) Watching television or Youtube.  Typically, I’m not much for watching shows.  I usually spend free time writing, nothing worth reading mind you, but it feels more productive  than staring mindlessly at the boobtube watching other people’s stories unfold.  I have a few television shows I watch (like Justified, and can I just say, this season has been so fucking fantastic, I gape at the screen five minutes after an episode ends crying “I can’t wait until Tuesday, I want more now!”), and I take care of watching those off the DVR on my day’s off from work.  The problem is Youtube more than anything, and those amalgamations of insidiousness Netflix and Hulu.  Once again, right at my fingertips…and, let’s face it, all links lead to Youtube.

Breaking the Habit: I have to quit cold turkey.  It’ll hurt for awhile, especially since i just discovered Table Top (courtesy of my all-things-nerd expert, aka, my older sister), hosted by Wil Wheaton.  Youtube is a huge time suck, it’s like a giant, swirling blackhole for time except…theoretically…time goes slower the closer you get to the center of a blackhole, therefore if Youtube were a blackhole and my free time was approaching its center I would have an eternity of time…but this is not astrophysics here, this is a metaphor and I got literary license for it.  I’m going to walk away from this one and I’m leaving Youtube behind with it.

4) Socializing.  In general, I’m not really a social person.  I have friends, family I like to see from time to time (and then immediately get drunk right after) but overall, I’m a hardcore introvert.  I prefer spending my free time alone in my room listening to music and typing up stories or reading a good book.  That being said, I go out so much when school is in.  I book plans every weekend: lunches with old friends I haven’t seen in months, hiking trips and family dinner/game nights.  Anything that gets me out of the house and far, far, far away from my homework is high up on my must do now list.

Breaking the Habit: This one is tricky because it involves friends, family, loved ones in general.  But I have to do it…I have to silence the phone, cut off the text messages and stop making plans.  The mountain can wait, even if I only have two months left on my season pass to Red Rock, my friends can go another month without hearing from me, family dinner is sort of locked in and unavoidable, but I need to focus on getting more homework done earlier in the day, which I should be able to do if I can overcome all the other procrastination techniques on this list.

5) Last, but most certainly not least, Writing.  Yes, at this very moment, I am procrastinating.  I’m actually, currently, supposed to be reading a chapter of my textbook for my Patterns of Human Growth and Development class and then writing up a quick discussion post based on those readings and yet…here I am!  I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but my number of blog posts has increased over the past few weeks and that is because…school started a few weeks ago.  This is probably the worst method of procrastination on this list.  Why?  I can justify it.  I’m a writer.  I maintain (sort of) this blog, and I have the twitter thing I have to every now and then post to in order to justify it’s existence and then I also have to dedicate time to writing my stories in hopes of one day writing something worth selling and…well…maybe you’re starting to see my conundrum.

Breaking the Habit: Or not.  Take inspiration where you can get it, right?  Because if I flunk out of school, at least I’ll always have writing to fall back on…er…well…I guess, taking into consideration that writing is a really difficult industry to break into and it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and a lot of rejection before you can even come close to making money you can live off of…right, on second thought, I think I’m going to go hit those books.

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