Comprehensive Internet Guide to Procrastination
expert on the subject of wasting time, I am pleased to present to you
this complete and unabridged guide to internet procrastination. Through
long experience and much effort, I have discovered and invented a wide
variety of time-consuming actions which can eat up your free time while
accomplishing nothing productive whatsoever. You too can experience this,
with nothing more than your Internet browser and time that would be better
spent doing something else.
can waste time playing games, aimlessly reorganizing sock drawers, staring
blankly at the TV, or looking out the window or into space. This page,
however, is for activities that are both interesting enough to keep you
occupied for long stretches of time and bizarre enough to elicit the desired
reaction from friends: "You spent how long doing what?"
Internet Anagram Server--
website provides almost endless fun. Take the name of any one of your
friends-- the more letters, the better. Then scroll down the incredibly
long column of anagrams the server provides, scanning for statements
that actually make sense. (Sometimes the best way to do this is to narrow
your search to include a particular word you've found in the name, but
don't forget to go back to the general search when you've looked through
that short list.) You can spend a good hour on most names (add the middle
name if you need to!), and when you're done, all you need to do is insert
the name of another friend. So click on over to the Internet
Anagram Server (I, rearrangement servant).
The Google game--
object of the game is simple: go to the Google
search engine, type in any three words, and find a combination that
will bring you exactly one result. Yet this game is challenging enough
that it takes hard work to find a successful three-word combination.
Some wacky combinations will amazingly show up on 2, 3, or 7 different
sites; others will be so rare that you won't find a single result. But
through perseverence, and the continued entering of words that have
no logical connection to eachother, you'll finally find three words
that bring up only one result. And the joy of success will prompt you
to start from scratch and do it all over again...
one is tricky. If you do it at the wrong time, you'll actually be accomplishing
something productive, completely destroying the purpose of the procrastination.
Hence, you must be sure to work on planning out your class schedule
long before you actually need to register-- a month is optimal. If enough
time is invested initially, this is an approach that keeps on giving,
since after determining which classes you want to take, any additional
time you spend perusing schedules and class evaluations will be utterly
gratituitous. As a consequence, you can then waste at least an hour
on it every night for at least a full month. If you're an NU student,
you'll use CAESAR and
Use the course catalog or a yearly planner to come up with future schedules
up to a year in advance, which you will surely discard when the time
actual comes to register for those classes.
Search for course evaluations of classes in subjects you will never
the internet for mentions of yourself, your friends, your family, kids
you knew in high school, or anyone else that strikes your fancy. You
can do this by simply entering the name of choice into a search engine
and seeing the results, but your options go much further. (And you'll
probably need them; while searching for someone with a name like, say,
"Britt Gordon-McKeon," doesn't involve much creativity or
hard work, most people have names which they share with from a couple
to dozens and dozens of other people.) Use tidbits of information you
know about them in the search. Search for their e-mail address or aliases
you know they once used. Follow the trail of information you find to
access more sites, with a growing sense of what they would likely be
mentioned online in reference to. Use the - sign to exclude mentions
of individuals with the same name who recur in your searches. And don't
forget to use less prominent search engines-- Google won't catch everything.
is for Northwestern folks, or anyone else who goes to a college with
public online course evaluations. CTECs
are designed to give you an idea of what classes are like, but they
can be used for so much more! Look up the classes you've taken already;
see what other people thought of the class compared to what you thought.
Then read the comments and try to figure out who in your class said
what. But there's more. Look up all the courses that you can remember
your friends taking, then search through the comments at the bottom,
trying to find which comment is theirs. Does it sound like something
they'd say? Does it remind you of comments you remember them making
about the course? You can read and ponder for quite a while until you
feel you've discerned your friend's voice in the mass of comments.
is so much census data out there that you can spend forever exploring
it, looking for whatever strikes your fancy. One particularly interesting
feature is the ability to get data
by county or city. You can find out all sorts of information about the
county you live in, then move on to other counties that interest you.
You can also get lots of demographic info for the country as a whole,
and some interesting reports here.
Tests and Quizzes--
are everywhere to be found online. Want to find out your inner goddess,
your TV family, your sexual personality, your theme song, or what breed
of dog you are? Try Emode.com. Want
to take the gay test, the slut test, the bitch test, the lazy test,
the pregnancy test? Head to TheSpark.com.
Or create your very own quizzes at Friendtest.com,
and take other peoples' tests. And you can find personality tests, purity
tests, IQ tests, and much more at the aforementioned sites as well as
many other ones just by searching.
One of the best things about quizzes is that they're a great way to
pull your friends down into procrastination with you. Many of them have
features that allow you to compare your scores directly with your friends,
and if it's not built in, you can always tell your friends your score
and point them towards the quiz in question. They'll get hooked, and
likely return the favor, pointing out a new quiz months later and starting
the cycle again.
sites like SearchSystems
online, they have long lists of what public records are available for
free online. For most of the states I've checked, there aren't a whole
lot of records which are both available, free, and interesting. (Although
you can go here
to get birth and marriage records for a couple of states, including
California and Texas.) But real estate records and property values are
virtually always available, so you can figure out how many acres of
land your friends have at their houses which you've never seen, or learn
their neighbors' names. And you can figure out how much money that fancy
house that you always drive by is worth (or who owns it!), if you know
the address. Plus, there are some tidbits that might be of interest,
depending on the state you live in and whether you're interested in
the licensed dentists in your state. It's unlikely you'll find anything
of tremendous interest on these sites, but eking out bits of information
like a middle name or mother's maiden name that you didn't know about
is a psychological victory, more than enough incentive for a hard-core
a sport-- my suggestion is baseball, but you can adapt it to your own
preferences-- and think of something statistical you'd like to figure
out. Not something simple, like which American League outfielder has
the most home runs, but be more creative. Unfortunately, sites like
ESPN.com have decreased the amount of time it takes to compile a good
statistical argument, as they gradually increase the quality of the
statistics they run. But you can still spend a good amount of time compiling
evidence for why a chosen borderline-Hall of Famer deserves inclusion
when compared to any number of HOFers, or making an argument for the
greatest living player. (Note: it will be more fun and you'll be more
motivated to continue procrastinating if you find someone to actually
argue against!) Explore stats and analysis at places like Baseball
Prospectus or Baseball-Reference.com,
as well as ESPN.com.
are plenty of places online where you can find games to fill up time.
At Yahoo Games, you can play against other real human beings online,
instead of just your computer, and even play along with geographically
distant (or not so distant!) friends. There are also many other places
you can play a variety of interesting games, although I must admit I
don't play them often and will not vouch for their quality. But I suggest
the most interesting and unique ones, like Splat
the MP at Panlogic, or Ethical Foreign Policy or the other games
(oh, those Brits!). Forget those boring games of Tetris or Asteroids...
the Internet is much more fun than that!
working on a website is typically thought of as a productive enterprise,
you accomplish a lot, and people don't typically think you're crazy
for spending time on it, it's still absolutely worth mentioning because
of the massive amount of time you can spend on creating one. You can
put an hour into a webpage once, or you can spend an hour every day
and hours at a time on your site; it's all up to you. It can truly eat
up more time than almost anything else. And although you will have something
to show for your hard work that you can be proud of, as long as you
work on your website instead of doing something else that is more important
and needs to be done, it's still procrastination, and one of the best
Websites can also be used for "reciprocal procrastination."
After you create your site, contact all of your friends who have websites
of their own. If you regularly update your site, they can visit for
procrastination purposes, thus giving you visitors. And they can reciprocate
by updating their own websites regularly, giving you the opportunity
to procrastinate even more by reading their
there are some tried-and-true wonderful ways to procrastinate out there,
like the ones I've listed above, both you and I can find new ways every
day. This wonderful world wide web of ours has endless possibilities,
and they can be stumbled upon when you're least expecting them. All
you need is a healthy curiousity and the willingness to explore, and
you can be sucked down into the whirlpool of procrastination in ever
more fascinating and bizzare ways. Just don't forget to brag to your
friends and observe their looks of shock or their knowing smiles, because
that's half the fun!
Procrastination is not a joking matter! It's a serious problem that ruins
people's lives. According to the University
of Buffalo, procrastination "can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy,
depression and self-doubt among students. Procrastination has a high potential
for painful consequences." If you suffer from this disorder, get
help. Visit MentalHelp.net
to learn about your problem and how to fix it. I renounce all responsibility
for the participation of any of my readers in this practice. Nothing on
this webpage should be interpreted as encouraging people to indulge in
this terrible and life-damaging pastime.