… but you left it to the last minute. You had a lot of great ideas, and did some fun research online. There are so many interesting websites out there, like the Field Guide to Procrastination , and some really smart blogs, with links to hilarious YouTube videos, on things like, the Top 15 Ways to Procrastinate .
You realized you were getting a bit distracted, so you suddenly decided it was time to take stock and work out where you were at. But how to do that? Maybe I should make myself something to eat or drink, you thought, and draw up a list of subjects for the article.
So you went to the kitchen, decided on a cup of tea, and looked for a pad and paper in the hall bureau. You found some interesting stuff there: an electric bill you hadn’t paid, tucked inside last month’s edition of Sports Illustrated, the one with that article you’d been meaning to read. You were just getting started on the article when the kettle started whistling.
“Oh yeah, tea!,” you remembered. And a pen and paper. Where did I put them?
Then you remembered leaving them in the kitchen this morning, when you were writing a shopping list. So you went back to the kitchen, and made the tea, and unloaded the dishwasher and wiped the counter while it was steeping. Then you sat down with the pad and paper and started on those notes for the procrastination article. What were you going to say again?
That’s when you spied The Joy of Cooking sitting on the counter. How about writing a recipe for an article on procrastination, you thought? A step-by-step guide to writing your very own piece on the pitfalls of putting things off. Okay, here goes.
Step One: Confess Your Own Procrastination.
Everyone loves a fellow sinner, so start by acknowledging that you too have a hard time getting things done on time. Tell a few stories—like how you delayed writing this very article.
Step Two: Add One of These Facts.
There’s nothing like statistics to make an article seem serious—especially if said statistics come from a recent scientific study. So remember to drop at least one of these fascinating factoids into your article:
- In surveys, 95% of people admit to procrastinating, with about a quarter of these saying that it’s a chronic, defining characteristic.
- At any time, “To stop procrastinating” is among the world’s top reported goals.
- The word procrastination comes from the Latin pro, which means “forward, forth, in favor of,” and crastinus, which means “of tomorrow.” So procrastinators are in favor of tomorrow.
- Men procrastinate more than women (54 of every 100 procrastinators are male)
- Procrastinators are more likely to be single than married, but more likely to be separated than divorced; they put off ending as well as beginning commitment.
- Procrastination is about 50% genetically influenced, so much so that we can all blame our parents.
Step Three: Ask if Procrastination is Really So Bad
End your article by asking whether any of the stuff you’ve been describing is actually procrastination at all. Don’t worry that you’re willfully ignoring the studies, which show that people who voluntarily delay things even though they know doing so is not in their best interests are worse off than those who don’t. No reader wants to hear that sort of negative stuff; your audience will appreciate your lack of moralizing and love you for it.
And that’s it: your off-the-rack article, ready to post online. Just fill in the blanks and press Publish.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.