Productive Forms of Procrastination

We all do it. Procrastinate, that is. Some of us operate more efficiently with a deadline--others of us would dearly like to check boxes on the to-do list but are paralyzed by dread or lack of inspiration or sheer laziness.

I'm in the lack of inspiration camp, currently, having three novelistic works-in-progress that are crawling or stalled out. Hence my forays into artisan baking and--new as of yesterday--clutter-busting! But first, an update on the artisan bread, version II: whole wheat.

Ready for the oven

While the original recipe for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day calls for only unbleached all-purpose flour, the basic recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day uses a high whole-wheat to white flour ratio. Yes, you get the fiber and the nutritious goodness and lose the guilt, but you also lose the crackling crust.

It's difficult for me to rate the latter recipe, actually, because of a run of baking mishaps. The two loaves you see above were left in the oven an hour (yes, you read that right) too long because of an overlooked, texted reminder to remove them at such-and-such a time. The loaf below I slid in when I was chatting with a friend, and I totally forgot to do the water-steaming.

 I did manage to prep and bake two loaves of the dough batch according to the instructions:

We alone have survived to tell you

Lovely, yes. Healthy, yes. Easy, yes. But, as you can see, there's too much whole wheat for the crust to crackle.  So this week I'm trying a variation of my own creation. I reduced the whole wheat flour of the original recipe by half, making the ratio of whole wheat to white about 50/50.

Mixed right up without washing the container!

If this works, I'll keep this recipe for artisan loaves to go with soup, and do another batch of the super whole-wheat and experiment with loaves baked in a loaf pan, to replace the $5 sandwich loaves I buy. Stay tuned for the next installment of Wannabe Artisan Baking!

As for Procrastination Ploy #2, you know things have gotten bad if I'm considering cleaning the house. Were you around at the Saturday Market some time ago, when the City of Bellevue was there handing out free "green cleaning" kits? All you had to do to get one was vow that you would try to clean green.

I'm happy to say I kept my vow--kinda--because I haven't cleaned "not-green." More specifically, I haven't cleaned at all. Until now. I went to the library and checked out a few helpful books (another helpful procrastination technique--preparing to procrastinate):


And what is the first thing Ellen has to say? That "Americans waste a collective 9 million hours per day looking for misplaced items. Cleaning professionals estimate that getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in the average American home." (!) So, before I can even clean the stuff, I must purge the stuff. More procrastination of my procrastination!

Since I have a date with the financial adviser on Friday (something I managed to put off for no less than ten years), I figured I would kill two birds with one stone. I would gather the financial info, if I could pry it out of the overstuffed file cabinet, and I would purge said file cabinet. The low-hanging fruit: old tax returns. Somewhere in the back of my head I had it that you had to keep old tax returns seven years. NOT the case. The IRS recommends three years.

My date with the shredder

Goodbye, 2000-2008! I'll keep 2009 out of sentimentality, but its days are numbered. Clearing this pile out will also free up some paper clips and manila folders. Bonus. Because, as Ellen instructs, reducing what we own and use is the first step. What a gal.

If anyone has some green method for cleaning shower tile grout, post it here! Otherwise I'll let you know how Ellen's methods work, but there will be NO before and after pictures because you all would be scandalized...

Okay, enough pre-procrastination. I'm off to shred, and I don't mean the slopes.