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September 18, 2014

How to… productively procrastinate

The internet is the perfect place to lose a few hours when your motivation fails you, but if you stray to far into the vortex of social media or Buzzfeed you'll end up feeling guilty and trashy. Here, the CityMag team offers up ways to procrastinate that come with built-in justifications.

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Avoid the pitfalls of time-wasting internet procrastination by wasting your time with some vaguely productive activities, as recommended by the CityMag team.

Josh the publisher

Nobody really knows what a publisher does until they work alongside one, which is when you realise that “taking responsibility” is the mainstay of their occupation. Publishers are responsible for the bills and budgets, legally responsible for the content that others create, responsible for the running of the business, responsible for the direction of the publication.

To take his mind off all this, our publisher writes lists – to do lists, to buy lists, lists of new business ideas, lists of things to bring up in a meeting, lists of things he should have said in that last meeting. He even goes so far as to employ software such as Basecamp that allows him share his lists with others. A really good list can take him almost a whole day, and some lists act as ever-evolving works in progress that are added to when a task is done, solely so that said task might be crossed off.

Dan the designer


Dan recommends buying your games from the Humble Store, which splits profits from sales between itself, the game developer and several charities.

The youngest of the CityMag team, Dan is also probably the smartest and the best at navigating and understanding the World Wide Web. Despite this, he nominated playing games as his “valuable” procrastination tool.

Citing examples such as VVVVVV, Machinarium and Thomas Was Alone, Dan points out that game play is about “solving problems within a given framework” and that “there are very few other activities that allow you to develop this skill”. We prefer this earlier explanation of his though – “You can have a difficult logic problem thinly veiled as killing a bunch of zombies”. Alright then.

Farrin the editor

After spending hours everyday massaging words into a slightly better formation, Farrin gets perverse pleasure from procrastination that allows her to dip briefly into the world of numbers. Examples include tackling her tax return.

When it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that years of lapsed tax is too much for any normal person to get in order, she invariably falls back on the safer option of listening to new albums (well, mostly the new-ish Spoon album They Want My Soul) and making notes on them. This is justified by the thought she might one day write a review for the CityMag website, although it’s obvious to everyone that single word reviews along the lines of “perfect” are not appropriate for this format.

Frederik the sausage

While he might be at the office daily, Frederik the Sausage Dog doesn’t actually do any work so procrastination is more of a lifestyle than a pastime for him.

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