Barry Smith: Who’s up for some procrastinating?
June 10, 2002
Whatever your occupation, you no doubt have those days when you just can’t get into it. Just a little lack of the old motivation. Lord knows that sometimes when I sit down to pen this column, the words just don’t come.When this happens, I usually refer to my handy list of Things To Do Instead Of Writing. I compiled this list by noticing my own behavior when it comes to wanting to do something other than what I should be doing, so it’s really more of a list of things I’ve DONE instead of writing, but it is good to refer to it often, just in case I’m forgetting any of my options.But chances are that writing isn’t your gig. You probably have a real job. Luckily, this list applies to any and every occupation, because I suspect that no matter what your chosen profession, some days you just don’t want to show up, punch in or sign on.So, simply customize my list to your own situation. Maybe you are an airport security guard, and you are just having a hard time getting excited about the whole random screening thing. Merely change the title of the list to Things To Do Instead Of Snapping On The Gloves. Or maybe you’re a surgeon, in which case your list may be called Things To Do Instead Of Attending To That Spurting Artery.If you’re a construction worker, the list may translate as Things To Do Instead Of Properly Securing The Ceiling Beams. Truck drivers would probably want to substitute Things To Do Instead Of Signaling Before You Merge Into The Tiny Car In The Lane Next To You.Surely you get the idea. So, without wasting any more of your time, I’ll let you get on to wasting your time:Things To Do Instead Of WritingCount my eye blinks per minute. Graph them with colored markers.Dust.Vacuum.Paint.Build a bookshelf.Balance my checkbook.Open a new checking account. Balance that checkbook.Transfer moneys between the two accounts. Re-balance.Decide to build a working guitar entirely out of toothpicks. Realize that I don’t have any toothpicks. Go to a restaurant to get some. Order some food. Forget original plan.Practice guitar.Practice harmonica, having recently built one from staples and paper clips.Practice piano, trumpet, violin, oboe, drums, tambourine, bagpipes, didgeridoo, tuba, cowbell, viola, gong, cymbals, accordion and/or harpsichord, all of which were constructed from things I just had lying around the office.Clip my nails.File my nails.Bite my nails.Polish my nails.Color.Stare at the wall.Stare at a different spot on the wall.Other staring options: floor, ceiling, blank computer screen, hands, shoes, tip of nose.Build another bookshelf.Nap.Slinky – For fun it’s a wonderful toy.Finger paint.Toe paint.Alphabetize things that don’t normally get arranged alphabetically … like my socks.Learn to call hogs.Learn to be called by hogs.Learn to communicate on a variety of subjects with hogs.Ponder deeply why I have a fascination with hogs.Nap.Make a list of things to do instead of writing. But don’t actually write it down, otherwise that would be, you know … writing.Reading.’Rithmetic.Go to the library. Take a magazine to the big soft chair. Fall asleep.Get drunk.http://www.nakedpeople.comTake a shower.Watch TV.Origami.Go on a short hike. To the refrigerator. Make a sandwich. Bivouac on the couch. Wait for help to arrive.(NEXT TIME: Things To Do Instead Of The Things You Shouldn’t Be Doing But Are, Yet Still Things That You Want To Do Without Being The Things You Should Be Doing.)Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Monday and Thursday. His e-mail address is barry@Irrelativity.com, and his very own Web page is at http://www.Irrelativity.com.
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