My best painting sessions take place in the wee hours the day before a dead-dead-deadline…by, say, candlelight because the power is out…with one eye closed because I’ve lost a contact lens…painting with tea, grape juice and my very own blood because I’ve run out of pigment…using the tail of the cat to apply said tea/juice/blood because said cat has eaten my only paintbrush. You get the picture.
Unfortunately, in a world with neither the demands of children nor (currently) a significant other, such pressure is not always easy to come by. For the most part, I live by my own rules and my own schedule.
So when I find myself, as now, with a medium-sized stack of art assignments on my drafting table and clients with very flexible time-frames for completion, I tend to also find myself lacking motivation.
The only possible solution is to flamboyantly and decadently fritter and waste the hours that I could be painting until the time remaining is just barely sufficient to complete the projects, thereby imposing an artificially-induced sense of urgency (which will, in due time, become true urgency).
Over the years I have become quite an expert in the art of Procrastination (and its close relative, Time-Suckage).
I have decided to share with you today some of my techniques for tightening the space between Now and Deadline. It is also hoped that by spending this time writing this article when I ‘should’ be painting, I will have helped to make that fire under my ass easier to ignite when the time comes.
• Creating MP3 playlists made up exclusively of obscure disco songs of the 70s, such as The Singing Nun’s version of The Lord’s Prayer (which leads to my next time-sucker):
• Following the google-trail created by searching for obscure disco songs sung by nuns in the 70s and seeing where it will lead (strangely, it involves Ricardo Montalban.)
• Perfecting my ability to avoid banging my knee on the helmet dangling from the handle-bars of my mountain-bike (carrying the helmet in the unlikely event I should meet a cop on the hiking trail – thus preventing getting a ticket while still feeling the wind in my hair. What a sneak I am). This is connected to the next one:
• Perfecting my ability to swerve and avoid decapitation of insane chipmunk that insists on a game of ‘Chicken’ whenever I ride by on my bike.
• Sitting on various outdoor cafè and bistro patios, people-watching and getting drunk with friends, thus also promoting time-suckage to others (this is indeed one of my favourites – and can lead to a multitude of other useless activities such as drunk-texting, skinny-dipping, befriending complete strangers, and hours of Fooz-ball.)
• Speaking of which, drinking in general tends to be an excellent, cost-effective and readily available solution to most cases of excessive time on one’s hands.
• Sitting outside with an unlit cigarette from the emergency party-pack, pretending I still smoke (smoking is probably THE best waste of time there is…unfortunately, my vanity prevails and prevents me from smoking full-time now – too bad, really).
• Asking my dad to “Sooo,…tell me again what it is you do at work?” (CAUTION: This one can take DAYS away from your life.)
• Clipping cat toenails and feigning deep interest in their grooming patterns.
• Researching the connection between serotonin reuptake and the ingestion of large amounts of LSD (for my thesis…yeah, my thesis.)
• Looking up the meanings of all the new, complicated emoticons that keep showing up on my profile, reminiscing about the good old days when it was just simple smiley-faces, and spending at least 40 minutes trying to design one that actually looks like me.
• Starting to arrange my library according to the Dewey Decimal System, then getting distracted and spending the rest of the afternoon flipping through my favourite books. (WARNING: This double-layer method of procrastinating-about-procrastinating is highly advanced and recommended only for those with superior skills in the field.)
• Mapping out travel itineraries for this fall to visit my peeps in Toronto, England and other logistically impossible places to hit all in one trip – which doesn’t stop me from trying – while understanding in the back of my mind that if I don’t finish these stinkin’ paintings, there shall be no travel at all.
• Plotting for next April Fool’s Day.
• Practicing my psychic abilities.
• Performing new-age improv music on my keyboard – which will then be lost for all time, despite its utter brilliance.
• Taking apart the DVD player just to see how it works.
• Creating little hands out of Fimo to leave lying around on windowsills.
• Returning calls while refusing to consult my address book, insisting on ‘remembering’ people’s phone numbers by dialing various combinations of numbers that I know are in the real number.
• Answering telemarketing calls and insisting that I will answer their survey questions if they answer mine.
• Writing inane posts for Facebook.
That’s all for now – if you have any suggestions, feel free to send them my way. Must go recharge all the batteries in the house now.