Last week’s post was about lockdown tips, since as a Ph.D. student, I’ve had a lot of experience organising my own time. I’ve ALSO had a lot of experience being incredibly unproductive. So without further ado, here are my tips on how not to achieve your goals!
1. Give yourself a strict timetable with too many things on it, and when you do inevitably miss something, add it to tomorrow’s timetable.
You’ll be accumulating 12-hour workdays that you find too paralysing to go ahead with in no time! As a result, you’ll end up procrastinating, yet not relaxing properly – the perfect combination for achieving absolutely nothing.
2. Make sure to spend all your energy making this timetable, rather than getting on with things that need doing.
There’s no better way to start the day than with some good old-fashioned decision fatigue! Spend hours deciding how to be the most efficient with your time and how to minimise every drop of wasted energy by putting all your time into this timetable project.
3. Make sure to include unrealistic wake-up times.
If your timetable doesn’t start at 6am then you’re doing something wrong. When you inevitably sleep in because those early starts don’t work brilliantly alongside your bedtime, make sure to beat yourself up about it all day and proceed to spend all your energy deciding on whether to push back your entire timetable a few hours, or to add the morning tasks you missed on to tomorrow’s schedule.
Since it’s now the afternoon, agonise over whether to make breakfast or skip breakfast and go straight to lunch, and whether this means you’ll only eat twice today and whether or not that’s enough food. If you do decide to have breakfast, then this means a 4pm lunch which just feels so wrong. This is a much more important decision than just eating something and getting on with your chores.
4. On that note, don’t give yourself enough time to sleep.
Sleep is for LOSERS and DRAINS ON SOCIETY. If you need more than a few hours per night you are LAZY and might as well give up on being productive at all.
5. Fill your time with to-do lists that have way too many things on them
As with timetables, it’s really important to remind yourself of how much you need to do by writing to-do lists. Bonus points if you write them last thing before bed, as you’re guaranteed to be tossing and turning thinking about everything you have to sort out tomorrow.
6. Include hobbies on your to-do lists.
There’s nothing better than turning a hobby into a chore if you want to make sure you never enjoy it again. Put things like finishing TV shows and collecting items in games on your to-do lists, as well as things that are meant to be calming like baking.
7. Don’t prioritise things like showering.
If you have time to shower, you’re clearly relaxing too much. God help us if you decide to put on a face mask first.
8. Don’t ever give yourself time off.
Always remember the list of things you should be doing. Holidays are for the WEAK. Be sure to ruin any free time you have with this line of thinking. Bonus points if you can think about all the things you need to do throughout any time off you have, like the background tasks on a computer that won’t stop humming.
9. Constantly tell yourself you’re “already had enough time off”.
There’s nothing like enjoying a weekend when you’re constantly reminding yourself that you took last weekend off, remember? God forbid you should take a weekday off too. If you don’t beat yourself up about this stuff, who will? Make sure to prevent yourself from ever actually relaxing, thereby creating the “golden cycle” of being too exhausted to work, relaxing but not relaxing properly because you’re feeling guilty for not spending this time doing X or Y or Z, feeling like you’ve “already had enough time off”, attempting to work again, and so it continues.
10. Start and end the day on social media.
There’s nothing better for your motivation and self esteem than seeing how much everyone else is getting done all the time. They’re not showing you their bad days, so you’ll only get positive encouragement! Bonus points if you take your phone to bed with you, as that’ll help you achieve task #4.
Remember to check your emails first thing in the morning too – nothing like having a rushed breakfast because you’re stressed about all those emails you still haven’t responded to. Also remember that the longer you take to reply to an email, the more intricate the reply has to be – this is the golden rule for making sure you never reply to anything ever again.
So there you have it, my top tips for achieving nothing! If you want to get better at procrastinating once you’ve started working make sure to check out my Master Procrastinator post.
Enjoy ruining your free time!