How to Successfully Procrastinate...and Accomplish Nothing!




Have a lot of work you should be doing and don't want to do it? Feeling a bit tired, apathetic, hungover, homesick, or just generally under the rainy day? Living in a foreign country and not really sure if you want to stay?

This instructable will guide you through the basic steps for successful procrastination. It is very simple, and all you need are a few basic diversions. For this instructable you will need:

1. To Go to work in foreign country of choice for a highly disorganized company that barely tells you anything about what's actually going on.
2. To Amass a terminal amount of work (in my case it's a stack of ungraded level 1 Basic English and about four classes to teach 3 chapters of material)
3. An Oxford New Spanish dictionary (or something similar)
4. A guitar or other similarly fun instrument
5. A toy whistle in the shape of a "caballito de mar"
6. Sangria/Beer/Alcohol of choice
7. Many good friends both in said country and abroad
8. A pouch of tobacco
9. Some good books that you most likely haven't been reading (but intend to when you're done procrastinating)
10. A computer with internet access and of course,
11. A comfortable hoodie. This will help to insulate feelings of general apathy and stimulate the anti-work antibodies that fight off the mean, work-related cells.
12. Pen
13. Cell phone (for general distraction)
14. Little time to spare
15. Notebook for general doodling and goofing off.
16. A pink bow with neon smiley faces (this will help us foster a sense of complacency and joviality surrounding our procrastination)

Step 1: Move to a Foreign Country...

For this step the most important thing is to move to a foreign country without having a very great grasp on the language. Here is where we will utilize the Disorganized Place of Work. It is very simple: go to work for this company. It is best that you work as little as possible and only show up for work when compelled. In my case, I decided to become an English Teacher in Chile. I work for a highly disorganized company, which when compounded with my lack of basic spanish skills creates the perfect conditions for growing apathy, which is one of the key ingredients in Procrastination.

Step 2: Make Friends and Amass an Unwieldy Work Load

For this step we will need several things. I will first recommend having various friends both in your new country and abroad. You're new friends need not be of the said country of work, however, this tends to a create a nice cultural interchange. At this point you should have your Spanish-English dictionary in hand at all times, as you will need it to Make Friends. To make friends, simply add some words together. For example, I made friends saying, "Hola, mi nombre es Brett, y tu?" Other examples include "Donde los perros del infierno?" (literally, were are the dogs from hell) With these new friends you will add Sangria/Wine/Beer/Alcohol of choice and begin stirring slowly, than mix more rapidly until there's a general sense of euphoria and dizziness. You should continue this process until at least four in the morning most weekends for about 4 months.

At this point you can also add in friends from home/abroad. For this you will need to utilize your computer. Start by opening the computer and turning it on (this very critical step stimulates the visual receptors in the brain and generally brings a sense of anticipation to your procrastination). Open your email, facebook, myspace, flicker, twitter, and other various diversions using multiple tabs to insure a surfeit of useless activities. You may add to this mixture if you like music or television in the background.

As stated, maintaining this routine for about four months should produce enough work load to be sufficiently apathetic. At this point, we can really begin to "procrastinate."

Step 3: Let's Start Procrastinating...

At this point you have really made yourself a perfect wort: your work has been piling up for months, you've imbibed enough to send your liver packing for the Netherlands Antilles to detox, and you've got lots of new friends with whom you can have something like a primitive conversation in which you resort to various types of pointing and grunting to make your points.

Take your said "work" as shown here, and lay it on your desk with a pen and cell phone nearby. The pen is important as it will express your desire to work, but your inability to really do it.

At this point, begin checking the cell phone every fifteen to twenty minutes to see if anyone has called or texted you, though you would clearly have heard it if it did. Note the time and promise to start working in half an hour. Repeat step every half and hour.

Step 4: Have Fun Doing Nothing...

Now we enter into the thick of our procrastination. You can do several things to hack your procrastination and make it super-cool like Ferris Bueller's Day Off (which in spanish is called something like Un Maestro de Diversiones or "Master of Diversions").

First I'll recommend that you work yourself into a hoody. This will insulate general feelings of boredom while at the same time fostering an internal atmospheric pressure of 0, essentially creating perfect mental ambience for just sitting, staring, typing, and in general passing bodily functions like the hands on the clock: a casual fart, the sensation of salivating, the desire to micturate are all sensations essential for enjoying our procrastination. It is optional to:

Play guitar but don't really practice or write anything. Strum, feel your boredom germinating thanks to your supercool hoody. Keep reminding yourself that you should be grading papers, then strum some more.

Having a colorful bow around also makes merry the tiring hours of procrastination--apply it to your favorite instrument or bodily area and enjoy!

Step 5: Draw, Doodle, Sketch...

I highly recommend drawing/doodling/sketching/general mental tomfoolery to be added at the zenith of your procrastination. It is at this point that we are really achieving "everything" and "nothing." Embrace your zen-like focus as you concentrate all of your mental efforts on creating something which will neither win you a nobel prize or fatten your paycheck. Slip away into the river of images as you forget the concrete reality which lurks at your feet like a rabid bunny-snake. You are now fully enjoying your procrastination.

Step 6: Play More...

Play with said "Cabellito de Mar" whistle (in this case I already consumed all of the candy which was inside during another procrastination session).

Step 7: Gaze at Read/unread Awesome Books...

Gaze at your pile/shelf of books both read and unread, but don't bother to pick anything up. Just relax and enjoy the memories of the books you read. However, be sure to Not Read. Our procrastination is a very specific type that originated with Japanese Zen and is based on the art of accomplishing "everything through nothing" (Taoism: Woo Wei)

Step 8: Smoke a Cigarette...(optional)

We're almost done procrastinating! This step is of course completely optional. The main purpose here is to do something with a sense of Anticipation and Indifference.

Take your tobacco and roll into a clean white paper. Apply flame from lighter and smoke.

At this point you should feel your procrastination coming to an end. The nicotine contained in you're cigarette should help stimulate a desire to work.

Step 9: Finish Your Instructable...

Of course, the best part about procrastination is making an instructable about it!

Step 10: General Advice and Post-mortem Analysis...

Successful procrastination starts with:

1. Too many things to do and too little time (this is a perceptive philosophy)
2. An apathy culture. You may obtain this online, in your local natural foods store, or at work. Ask some friends to come over and grow an apathy culture with you.
3. Good procrastination usually grows best in a cool, dark place (like your bedroom with the shades drawn).
4. The best time for procrastinating is Winter, on rainy days, and especially on Sundays.
5. Beware: Mondays tend to be the worst day for procrastination.


Procrastinating may be hazardous. You could potentially lose your job, girlfriend, house, and other various positive accoutrements of life which require an effort to maintain (including friend ships, pet goldfish and your good health). Before entering into your procrastination be sure you've NOT too carefully considered all the negative side effects. Be sure you have all the proper tools available for positive diversion as to avoid any serious shocks to your emotional system or a general life crisis (one of the many potentially fatal hazards of procrastination resulting from too much time to think and serious Apathetic Barometric Pressure.) Always wear a hoody for maximum protection.

If you find your procrastination overwhelming, I would suggest improvising a Siamese Banana Ray Gun (forthcoming in my next instructable) for immediate vaporization of such dangerous thinking. Whatever you, just don't do too much of it!



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    30 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I saw the irony here too, but let's face it: many of us will have written an Instructable or browsed the site instead of doing something we should have been doing.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Funniest thing I have seen on Instructables!

    Personally I find moving stuff around my room to other places but not actually cleaning the room to be a great tool of procrastination.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    HAHAHA! You have taken the words out of my mind. I tought I was procrastination queen! XD
    Well, it is true that here in Chile it is quite easy to live like that, 'cause everything is in slow-mo, or something. Everything'll be done mañana, mañana, mañana. U.u
    Hope you still have the job anyway!


    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hahaha, yes, things move in Chilean time here...por que haces hoy dia lo que puedes hacer mañana! Strangely enough all that procrastination got me an ever better job! jajaja. i still try to procrastinate, but it's getting harder. i worried i'm becoming a responsible person!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    LOL enjoy your procrastination, dude! I envy you, I cant do this without feeling guilty... hope you make another article on "how not to feel guilty".


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Procrastination is important, it's natures way of telling us to slow down and take it easy. Procrastinate today, don't put it off until tomorrow!

    - Ellen DeGeneres

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I think "Cigarette" was a pseudo name....... How many still smoke cowboys?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I need one of those cigarettes, but with something else in em.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    great instructable! did you actually move to s.america with minimal spanish knowledge and achieve this wonderful life of zen and taoism? or are you just getting my hopes up?

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah. But I'm failing my own advice horribly. I think I worked too much today to be an very good procrastination instructor...i can only hope to try and do less tomorrow.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    ->A<- very good procrastination ... not an very good :) i dont know what procrastinating means but i still think its a nice instructable


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Procrastination is when you have work to do, but you would rather sit around and do nothing.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    If I've succeeded at procrastinating, should I feel a sense of accomplishment?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    for many reasons they won't: starting with they don't speak much english and B) they would put off finding this until mañana, y mañ get the drift. it's just like homework!