Writing, photos, and video by Maven Boddy

During university, I would make grand lists of all the papers and assignments I needed to write for the week. Upon opening my laptop, I would usually get sucked into the Netflix vortex instead of tackling my lists.

This is when I discovered that procrastinating by baking would break the spell seasonal depression casts mid-semester. The hardest part of finding motivation is the start — what will it take to get you out of bed? What will it take to set aside five minutes to breathe? For me, giving myself permission to bake would lead to much better results than the constant nagging voice in my head telling me there’s not enough time for anything but working.

Although procrasti-baking (I didn’t come up with the term, but I think more people need to be talking about it) is not explicitly productive, it jumpstarts the process and creates tangible segments of time in which to work while waiting for the baking to finish. As a reward for focus, you can feast on mouth-watering, freshly baked goods.

What follows is a detailed guide to procrasti-baking:

1. You start the morning off a little slow. Sit down at your desk to begin doing something you’ve been putting off — and then realize you’re craving some fresh-baked pretzel buns.

2. So, you slide into some slippers, don your apron, and begin mixing water, yeast, and sugar.

3. While you wait for the yeast to activate, you clear a space on the counter and prepare for the kneading process.

4. After washing a few dishes, you remember you were in the middle of making buns and add the flour, salt, and oil to the mixture.

5. The freshly wiped counter is dusted with flour and you dump your dough out to knead it. Presently, you’ve covered your little ball to rest, placed it in a warm spot, and turn to wash your hands — remembering you’re in the middle of washing dishes.

6. Sparkling, the kitchen may be calling you to make something other than Ichiban for supper… or not, but you still have 40 minutes or so to tackle that work!

7. Mind engaged, you’re lost in your work when you suddenly remember that little dough ball you left is ready to be turned into buns.

8. Yes! Wow, so fluffy. You punch down the ball, fill a pot with water and baking soda and heat it for a bath. Now, the dough is ready to be turned into buns and boiled before baking.

9. You butter the pan as your first buns enter the hot bath, and soon your buns are sprinkled with salt and baking, filling the house with the most tantalizing smell.

10. Motivation mode activated, the work continues while you wait. You feel productive, happy, and accomplished.

The aroma of baking bread reminds me so fondly of my childhood. I remember running through the door on cool spring days and being greeted by the smell of warm, earthy baking. I remember my mother slicing off the end crust, “the heel,” steam escaping and swirling in the sunlight. Dressing the soft interior of the bread with butter and sprinkling the top with cinnamon as my mouth watered in anticipation of the first bite. The crust of the bread would crunch and split into fragments of hot goodness in my mouth, while the cinnamon brought my taste buds alive. There’s nothing like bread fresh out of the oven.

Heed my words! The upsides of procrasti-baking include: a clean kitchen, increased motivation, and enjoying freshly baked goods as a reward for productivity!

This is not a life hack. It is a tongue-and-cheek way of making some time in a busy schedule for something you wouldn’t normally put on your to-do list, but which makes tackling it possible. Procrasti-baking is a way to share good food and connect with friends, nostalgically remember the past, and find motivation to continue on with your day in a more positive way.