Seriously, folks, this is the big one. This is the one which will make five years of reading this blog seem worthwhile. It’s gold, I tell you.
Imagine a world where you can sit down and start writing without feeling the need to quadruple check your emails in case someone really important has emailed you in the last fifteen seconds. Imagine a world where Twitter is an unneeded distraction and not the focal point of your entire not-working campaign. Imagine not having to quickly check for pictures of cats being cute and/or nailed to stuff.*
Just think about how much work you’ll get done! Imagine the dizzy heights your career will rise to in the next twelve months if you follow my simple four step program!
And you know the best bit about this program? It’s free! Obviously I could make a fortune on the lecture circuit selling this. I imagine I could easily stretch it out to a full weekend at £300 a head … but hey, that’s just not me. No sir, you get this amazing, four step, anti-procrastination program for the princely price of FUCK ALL!
But first, a little background information on how I made this amazing and life changing discovery.
I have a car.
It is blue.
It is a blue car and one day it fucking exploded for no good reason. †
After a day doing this:
… at great personal expense, I was the proud owner of a blue car with a blown head gasket.
If you don’t know what a head gasket is, here’s a handy diagram to inform/confuse further:
Basically, it’s a thin bit of metal which seals the two halves ‡ of your engine together. If it blows, the oil, exhaust gas and water mixes together and fucks everything up. I had about an inch of water in each cylinder (big hole thing where … oh it doesn’t fucking matter).
Point is, engine go bang. Engine now fucked.
For reasons which don’t make a lot of sense right now, instead of taking the car to a garage to get it fixed … I decided to fix it myself.
On my own.
With no tools.
Let me just make that crystal clear – I am not a mechanic, I have little to no knowledge of how these things work, no workshop or garage and hardly any tools.
Basically, it’s just one idiot and a spanner.
Or two spanners, if you prefer.
The engine started out looking a little like this:
… but after mere days of back-breaking, knuckle-skinning, swear-inducing frustration, now looks more like this:
… and this:
With a bit here:
And some bits here:
… and some more bits here:
That’s a shed up there, by the way. It may look like a cozy indoor space to work in; but it’s fucking tiny with a low ceiling and jam packed full of shit. Storage only.
So I was quite pleased with myself at that point. I know it’s just unbolting shit from other shit, but it’s fucking hard and I really, really don’t know what I’m doing.
Spanner with a spanner, remember?
But I’d done it, I’d got the head off the block and removed the gasket.
Then I hit a bit of an impasse.
You see, the problem with a head gasket blowing is sometimes it blows because the engine overheats and overheating is bad. So bad, in fact, it can warp one or both halves of the engine. Before you put the new head gasket in, you have to check the surfaces are flat.
Flat to an accuracy of 0.06 of a mm.
That’s this much.
I’m holding my finger and thumb a short distance apart here, but you won’t be able to see it from there. I’d take a photo, but I can’t be arsed and you don’t care anyway. Let’s just say it’s as small as your finger and thumb actually touching.
0.06 mm … how the fuck do you measure that?
You need to put something flat on top of the head and see if there’s a gap (by shining a torch from behind, perhaps?) but … how?
Look around you, what have you got in the house which is machined flat to an accuracy of 0.06 mm? Can you see it? Can you?
Took me ages to figure this one out – most of you have (or will have had at some point) this in your house. You will have licked it, loved it and shoved it up your nose.
Lego! Lego is manufactured to a tolerance of 0.002 mm! It’s very. very flat. Very flat indeed.
Sadly, by the time I’d worked that out, I’d already decided to get the head skimmed (cut a teeny, tiny sliver off so it’s guaranteed to be flat) and no longer needed to repair my engine with Lego. Which would have been cool.
Alas, in order to get it skimmed, I have to remove two more bits. One of which, is going to be a massive pain in the arse (the overhead cams – which is actually lots of bits, but I’m thinking of the whole mechanism as one bit) because it can go back on in any orientation, but has to go back on in exactly the right orientation or the engine will explode worse than it did before.
And so you join me on that fateful Tuesday morning: fresh from dropping Alice off at nursery, breakfasted, tea-ed up and dressed in my scruffy best.
The thing about yesterday, is it was fucking freezing outside. Minus four to be precise. And the thing about touching metal when it’s fucking freezing outside is … well, this:
I wasn’t planning on licking the engine, obviously. Well, it’s obvious to me; maybe it’s not obvious to you? Depends on how stupid you think I am.§
Playing with a fiddly lump of metal, knowing I had to be clever and remove a part in a very precise way and mark it in some fashion so I can put it back in a manner which didn’t involve resetting the timing for the whole engine, in sub-zero temperatures … not my idea of fun.¶
So I did the sensible thing and sat down in the warm to fuck about on the computer until it warmed up a bit outside. I reckoned there would be a four minute window around midday when it would pop above freezing and be like working in a fridge as opposed to a freezer.
And that’s when it happened. I did all of the work I’ve got stockpiled for the week in one day.
All of it.
In one sitting!
No procrastination, no faffing or fucking about – just solid work which almost didn’t include a lunch break.
And there you have it:
HOW TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION:
FIND SOMETHING MORE UNPLEASANT AND COMPLICATED THAN WRITING AND TRY TO DO THAT.
It’s so simple, yet fiendishly clever.
You know how you sit down to write and find yourself cleaning the toilet or picking up the fluff from behind the door? Well it’s like that in reverse – you make writing the lesser of two evils!
To follow my method, simply do the following things:
- Buy a house with no garage.
- Throw away any tools and knowledge you may have acquired
- Buy a car.
- Drive recklessly without maintaining it for a few years.
- Kill the engine.
- Dismantle the engine in the most complicated manner you can manage.
- Force yourself to work on it on the coldest day of the year.
- Miraculously find yourself laser-focussed on your writing for hours on end.
And that’s it!
Yes, this was a pointless post.
No, it’s not really about writing.
Yes, this is eight steps when I promised you four, but that was words ago.
And yes, I am bored and am procrastinating by writing this instead of working.
On the plus side … um … oh fill in your own plus side, I’m busy.
* Delete as applicable
† May or may not have involved being a fuckwit and failing to maintain the car properly.
‡ They’re not halves, but it sounds better than five eighths and three eighths.
§ Answers in the comments, please.
¶ My idea of fun involves warmth, nudity and power tools.