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My Guide to Productive Procrastination

By Annalise Whitmer You’ve been assigned the dreaded essay. Whether it’s themes from The Outsiders,  A Memoir by You, or your own guide, I know your suffering. The whole day is ruined anytime you work on the dreaded essay. Not to worry, I’m an expert at putting off even the simplest t-shirt order form. The trick is productive procrastination. With the right technique, by 9 o’clock, the kitchen baseboards will be white again, your grades will be better than ever, and you’ve finally had that rosemary bubble bath your for you page is saying is the most aesthetic way to relax.


I begin my journey of procrastination by choosing a space piled high with scholastic magazines from fourth grade and neon pink papers marked IMPORTANT. With just a little elbow grease this same spot will be impeccable; The most superb sight you’ve ever seen. Keep in mind, we’re looking for “sparkling” not just “clean”. Go the extra mile is a phrase that can be applied at all points in the procrastination process. Once you have scrubbed, scraped, and sterilized if you still feel unsatisfied repeat with a brand new, state-of-the-art, junk drawer reincarnated. If you find yourself out of old leather books to lift to eye level and discover there’s a cover under all that dust, then you can move on.


To start, if I’m feeling inspired, I dump out my backpack, pencils flying everywhere. I pick up my folders, blue for literacy, red for math, green for science, and arrange them in the order I’ll complete them (the dreaded essay forever crushed by my Bien Dit French textbook). Literacy lives here, math moves there, and science stays here. Make sure this Ticonderoga is exactly level and the Crayola markers are meticulously ordered in a perfect rainbow.


Did you think I forgot about online assignments? Tabs are included in the organization process. My tab lineup is as follows: Email, Google Classroom, google doc/assignment attached, PowerSchool, and finally google searches/helpful sites (like thesaurus.com). That last one is truly great resplendent (laugh here that was a real knee-slapper).

Once that’s all done, you can start carrying out your to-do list. Remember, take your time. Your homework won’t be done before you can say pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Channel your inner teacher and “write it out because I’m not a mind reader”. 2+2, better show my work. This Goldenrod and Cone Flower diagram could use a lot more detail. That extra credit vitamin experiment would definitely further my learning. 

By this point, you’re on a roll. The only task left is the dreaded essa-I cannot focus with that dust bunny on the ground. Time to properly put away those skyscrapers of crumpled French conjugation papers, and 2nd-grade math workbooks so pull out your mop and favorite cleaning solution. Apply your specific cleaning routine until your house is, you guessed it, “sparkling”.

After all of this time spent (NOT wasted), it’s time for a break. For this next step, your mindset is the paddle to your canoe. My favorite words for this step are “de-stress” and “unwind”. Now, think back to paragraph two and go the extra mile. Instead of just drawing a bath and adding some “bubble bath”, research the top ten most fragrant herbs, the effects of steaming water on your health, and the most recent New York Times articles that are best to chew on. Try meditating; sit with your thoughts, hopes, and goals for the day. Look up that Yoga with Adriene channel you tried for 2 minutes during Covid PE, maybe that’s just me. Experiment with your hair. Relax, rejuvenate, recharge (de-stress and unwind).

Don’t you feel just exhilarated now? Like you’ve finally stood up after stewing in a combo desk for 85 minutes. Now that you’re refreshed, I have saved the ultimate and most important tip for last. It’s all about timing. Timing is the last thread of a collapsed rope bridge, saving you the pit of “done early”. Quarter hours are your best friend, and odd numbers are that one kid you cannot talk to without wanting to scream. Is it 12:16 already? Now I can’t start until at least 12:30. There is no other option but to pull out the Mr. Clean magic eraser and scrub the indeterminable charcoal splotch until-oops it’s 12:31.

Even after all this, the dreaded essay is still waiting with bated breath as if it can hear the click click click of a roller caster slowly climbing to the drop. Unfortunately, no longer how much time you spend elsewhere and no matter what else you get done the dreaded essay needs you. So, I leave you with this: productive procrastination is very important to help get things done and take your mind off specific tasks, but it must be used carefully and in moderation. Hopefully, I have taken your mind off the dreaded essay for long enough. Best of luck!

댓글 5개


Kate Meier
Kate Meier
4월 03일

This is the story of my college career...always easier to study in a tidy space!

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Catherine Pautsch
Catherine Pautsch
4월 03일

Hilarious! I will 100% agree that a clean house or desk is imperative before I can even think about beginning an important task😂

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Stephanie Beattie
Stephanie Beattie
4월 03일

Annalise, j'adore ! This is so funny and accurate, my house is never cleaner than when I'm staring at a stack of quizzes to grade. And shout-out to the ol Bien Dit textbook 🇫🇷

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Liz Tucker
Liz Tucker
4월 02일

Annalise, Ms. Baker shared your essay with all of us and even though I don't know you I LOVE your piece and your writing. Your humor comes through beautifully in this eloquent piece. You make those Elementary teachers proud. Good for you for never giving up. Productive procrastination lives on! :-) Ms. Tucker

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Michael Whitmer
Michael Whitmer
4월 02일

Love it! 😂

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