Pam Cytrynbaum

Pamela Cytrynbaum

Because I'm the Mom

Minding My Mind: Noticing Distraction Makes You Productive

Procrastination bucket list: Why do I always have to pee when I'm writing?

Posted Feb 16, 2014

Things I’m doing to avoid writing, even though my deadline is today, now. NOW. I'll make a list. I will organize and document my distractions in an effort to master them.

What happens when you decide to work from home because it’s too cold to go to the office and you’ll be far more productive working 3 ½ feet away from your bed. What does one do to avoid _____ (fill-in-blank with whatever you're avoiding. Mine is writing.)

Make coffee.

Let dog out.

Check email.

Let dog in.

Check for (snail)mail.

Return three calls.

Throw in a load of laundry.

Make tea.

Walk dog.

Peek at Facebook (Note with a shudder that my editor is on Facebook, actively posting, and can see that I’m not writing for him, but am on Facebook.)

Check email.

Warm up tea.

Compile list of procrastinational activities done while avoiding writing.

Snuggle dog.

WRITE TWO SENTENCES! (WROTE two sentences. Am I switching tenses willy nilly????)

Email four friends about how I’m writing the procrastination list.

Email four friends not to distract me because even though I’m only writing a procrastination list, it’s a warm-up for the thing that’s due TODAY. RIGHT NOW.

Why are my feet suddenly freezing?

Put on warmer socks.

Cut cuticle that’s been bothering me for like a month.

Rethink 1½ sentences.

Spend 38 endless seconds doing breathing/meditation mindfulness crap.

Take Advil.

Write down that I took Advil.

Check Facebook.

Waylayed by this status update by a writer pal I deeply admire and envy (consider creating word for writer-friends you envy and admire = ‘envymire’). Oh, here’s what she wrote: “Today my list of things to do/create/tick-off was at least three pages. I awoke battling The Crud of 2014 that's been ravishing The Shire. So… instead of working through the list, I'm going to read. And drink tea.”

Start thinking bad thoughts… ”If above-mentioned writer-friend is putting off her writing and avoiding her to-do list…” Pull. Mind. Back. To. Work.

Clean my glasses (eye not drinking… wish I was a drinker… if I were a drinker… is it 'was' or 'were'…must be were, right? Panic that you, a writer who teaches writing, don't know if it's was or were. Is it a writer who doesn't know? Total grammar panic meltdown. Google every possible configuration).

Suddenly thirsty. Get glass of water.

Resist strong urge to Google “extreme thirst is a symptom of…”

Return a call to my Mom saying I can’t talk now I’m WRITING ON DEADLINE!

Wonder why Mom doesn’t support my writing career.

Remember Mom totally supports my writing career.

Remember I’m 48. Why do I care what my Mom thinks about my career, which she supports.

Lunchtime already??

Proudly note I have 429 words written down. Some are not terrible.

Fight strong urge to nap.

Throw laundry in dryer.

Think about whether or not each procrastination entry should end with a period.

Fight urge to Google above.

Score: I have 239 (now 241) words in this procrastination list (now 248).

Go back and add periods to end of each entry.


Score: Thing I must write: 450 words. Procrastination List: 342 words.

One hour until I pick the child up from school and all hell breaks loose.

Don’t bother me I’m writing.

Score: Thing I must write: 779 words. Procrastination List: 455 words.

Fold laundry.

Give self permission to respond to three emails but no more.

Repeat same as above with four texts.


FINAL SCORE: Thing I must write: 1,006. Procrastination List: 494.

Write snarky Facebook instant message to editor boasting that while HE was dawdling away on Facebook, I was committing serious and significant acts of writing.

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