What To Do When You Have Nothing To Do
(for the purpose of this course, ‘travel procrastination’ will be shortened to TP, not to be confused with toilet paper)
You’re on vacation and find yourself with nothing to do. No meetings to attend, emails to return, or people to please. If you find yourself in the truest form of this situation, consider yourself lucky, as a real ‘vacation’ is a luxury that many may never attain.
In this short introductory course, you’ll learn the basics of travel procrastination.
Lesson 1: The art of doing something when you’re not really doing anything
Lesson 2: Checkpoint, save here
Lesson 3: Tools for TP-ing
Example: A day of a professional TP-er
(verb) trav·el [ \ˈtra-vəl\ ]
- making a journey, typically of some length or abroad.
Can use in a sentence: I like to travel, preferably on someone else’s dime.
(verb) pro·cras·ti·nate [ \prə-ˈkras-tə-ˌnāt, prō-\ ]
- the action of delaying or postponing something.
Can use in a sentence: If we procrastinate hard enough, can we postpone death?
- the act of delaying something while on a journey.
Can use in a sentence: I was worried that I would be bored due to the length of my holiday, but the vacation was wonderful, thanks to my ability to travel procrastinate.
The definition will be more clearly defined in the following lesson.
LESSON 1: THE ART OF DOING SOMETHING WHEN YOU’RE NOT REALLY DOING ANYTHING
“What you believe in, you will achieve.” – Maika the Prophet
(once googled, a quote adapted from Napoleon Hill)
Boredom will be the death of us. You stop moving, you die. You get shot by a bullet, you also die. It’s up to you, but you have a better chance of avoiding the bullet if you’re moving, so it’s really a win-win.
moving = doing
‘moving’ for the purposes of this short course is defined broadly. Physically moving your mind, your relationships, even your fingertips on the phone screen. In varying degrees, it all equates to doing.
doing ≠ productivity
This is an, A = B, but B ≠ C, and A (might) = C example.
Simply stated, that is the secret to this lesson. When traveling, you must find activity to last you from when you wake, to when you choose to fall asleep.
When there’s no work to do, no papers to write, no responsibilities, it’s easy to become lost. Most of the time our tasks are clear. Our hours filled with what we’re expected to do: to make our salary, to pass that class, to please our partners. On vacation, whether you choose to take one or have no other option (in my case), it’s really up to you.
Doing something is a skill, skills can be learned, and everyone can learn.
Activity(n) + Activity (n+1) + … = time awake
(where ‘n’ = something and each subsequent ‘n’ is another something)
Like any art, everyone has their own style. You must trial various activities to see what fits you.
For a start, here are some activities that require fairly minimal cost, and are easily trial-able. I’ve bolded my personal favorites.
- Watching TV (or screens)
- Going for a coffee
- Having a drink
- Checking social media
- Messing with others
- Making Food (also known as cooking)
- Messaging Friends
- Spending time with others
Here is the bait and switch – the art – the techniques to make your lolly-gagging appear so productive, you may even fool yourself. ( → refers to ‘becomes’)
- Napping/Sleeping → ‘meditating.’ You may appear zen or spiritual. If ever caught snoring, possible responses include, but are not limited to, “I really got into a trance there,” or, “Yeah, it’s an active breathing technique.”
- Checking social media → ‘social media strategizing.’ It’s now cool to care about your personal brand, or develop an online presence. Like any job, it’s work and you’re improving an aspect of your life. THAT, is commendable.
- Watching TV (or screens) → ‘research.’ Current state of affairs. Consumer activity and attention can be gauged by what’s being shown on tv (and related screens), and the content of those shows.
- Going for a coffee → they say a coffee shop is the perfect noise level for creative work. You’re trying to optimize that ambiance to write your very important blog or historical fiction novel. But first, coffee…
- Walking → this counts as exercise, right?
These are just a few examples to help you get started practicing the art of appearing to do something while really doing nothing. (Have your own examples? Share them with me by tagging them with @maikaisogawa and #TP101)
LESSON 2: CHECKPOINT, SAVE HERE
In many video games, you get to a certain checkpoint, location, a certain progress mark which serves as a way to measure your progress. In the case of TP-ing, that checkpoint is: meals.
It works for everyone, because everyone has to eat. Plus, a holiday isn’t complete without great food.
Time awake / number of feeds = length of activities
Of course, you can do multiple activities between meals. But if you eat often enough, one activity at a time is plenty.
Pro tip: eat small meals so you get hungrier sooner, and get to enjoy a higher amount of cafes and restaurants.
The meal itself will take time. Get excited by finding cafes and restaurants beforehand, to avoid walking around aimlessly (unless that is one of your chosen TP activities).
To take this lesson of TP-ing a step further, one activity unit can be dedicated solely to finding places to eat that day. Search the menu, cross-check the visual on Instagram. Find efficient routes and plan photo-ops. By using meals as time stamps, you can accurately measure your TP progress, and adjust accordingly.
“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” – Will Rogers
“It’s time for second breakfast.” – Maika the Prophet
LESSON 3: TOOLS FOR TP
In this lesson, I’ll share my most used tools for TP.
- Instead of having a drink with your meal, only order water. Use the drink post-meal to extend the length of your time at the cafe, or to discover a new one. (using this strategy, I have gotten away with hours of TP-ing, with minimal damage to my wallet)
- Multi-TP-ing or strict focus. Both are effective. Read while you drink coffee. Sleep while you tan. You appear almost superhuman, so productive.
- Walk everywhere. Not only does walking take more time than cabbing, cycling, or skipping to your destination, but it will also make you feel like you’re not a complete sack of potatoes.
Pro Tip: maintain your bikini bod by opting for black coffee, tea, or water rather than a thick milkshake or mystery smoothie/juice. If you’re eating all day, gotta cut back somewhere.
- If you plan to visit a cafe more than once in a day, consider going early morning, and then later in the afternoon or evening. You maintain an aura of purpose, as there will most likely be different people working.
- If you read, an optional extension is the activity of researching what book to read. Message friends, ask strangers, look up new best-sellers. What category of book? Genre? Length? Can you find a cheaper version of the book? Make sure to read a review or 5. Also, make a list of books you find, so you can refer back to that list to pick your next book.
- Posted something on social media lately? Make sure to check how it’s doing. The stats, how is it performing? Is there a peak time of attention? How can you optimize the reaction to increase response next time? Cross-platform analysis is also a must. Twitter compared to Instagram, compared to Snapchat or to Facebook. The work is endless, the perfect TP activity.
- Drink a lot of water. Not only will you stay sufficiently hydrated, but you’ll kill time looking for a bathroom.
- Write. Anything that pops into your head. Our minds are endless streams of thoughts and chatter. Let it flow onto paper, and you can stay TP-ing for hours. Don’t edit as you write. Be free, baby.
^These were some highlights of my best TP moves and applications. Have you tried any of these exercises? Do you have ideas of your own? Share them with me @maikaisogawa and #TP101
EXAMPLE: A SAMPLE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PROFESSIONAL TP-ER
Wake up from the gentle, natural sunlight flowing through the windows of my hotel room. Ah, paradise. Roll around in bed.
Check phone: clear inbox of spam emails. Respond to messages left from the night before. Check my last Instagram post. It’s doing well. Set my alarm for the post today. Upload today’s photo to VSCO cam to check the consistency next to my other photos as well as overall flow of the feed.
Get up, shower, brush teeth, get dressed for the day. Pick cafe for breakfast. Read menu, confirm on Instagram the aesthetic quality of the dishes, and best location to sit for optimal lighting. Check map for directions to cafe.
Leave hotel. Begin walk to cafe. Take specific route so that in the afternoon, I can wrap around the other route on the way back to the hotel.
Arrive at cafe. Capture photos of menu, atmosphere, ambiance. Upload a carefully crafted image of the tableau to Instagram story. Upload slightly more casual, personal version to Snapchat story. Order.
Pull out kindle, read a few pages of current book. Jot down notes as they grab my interest.
Food arrives. Proceed with photoshoot de cuisine. Play with angles, positioning, and objects within the frame. Respond to any messages that may have arrived. Eat, enjoy.
Read a few more pages of book. Messages arrive, friends are awake. Plan to meet friends at 11 am at nearby cafe.
Order long black coffee.
Drink coffee, read.
Leave cafe to walk to second cafe for second breakfast.
Arrive at second cafe. Friends arrive shortly after. Conversation, laughs, order. Food arrives, eat, enjoy.
Social media alarm buzzes. Take phone, draft caption in notes app complete with hashtags and mentions to be incorporated. On vacation, I’m in a different time-zone than my usual, so I adjust accordingly.
Post to various social media accounts.
Leave cafe, hop on motorbike to head to villa. At villa, dip in the pool. Set up optimal tanning position in relation to the trajectory of the afternoon sunlight. Flip when necessary. Rotate between tanning, swimming, and reading. Also check performance of recent social media post occasionally.
Leave villa to walk to chosen cafe. Upon arrival, repeat similar process to first breakfast.
Leave cafe to head to another cafe for afternoon coffee.
Order almond milk flat white. Read, write, research, repeat.
Leave cafe to walk to chosen destination for dinner with friends. Order, chat, enjoy.
Leave restaurant and cab together to chosen bar. Order drinks, enjoy more socialization. This continues until the night ends (or continues, depending on the drinks of choice).
END – the details of the ending vary, depending on the evening flow.
If you’ve read this far, you can see how easy it is to fill an entire day doing absolutely nothing, following the basic lessons of TP. How wonderful!
You have completed the short course: Travel Procrastinating 101
Try it out yourself, and if you found this course helpful, be sure to share it with family, friends, and enemies so they can experience the joys of TP themselves.
Since some people cannot seem to tell the difference between satirical writing and personal reality, I choose to add this portion here. You’re reading a blog. I am not responsible or liable for any outcomes or reactions that occur in response to this piece of writing (Unless it’s incredibly positive, then please give me all of the credit).
Remember, you can’t believe everything you think.