A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Procrastinate – it’s good for you!

DSC01865A day at the keyboard may leave you with tired eyes, flagging creativity and – if you’ve really gone for it – a touch of RSI. But as a writer, you’ll never be out of breath.

Writing burns just 51 calories per hour according to CalorieLab. Even an hour spent devising Carnegie Medal-winning plot twists earns you… an apple. If you work from home, it’s even worse: you miss out on ‘walking briskly in the office’ (178 cals) and ‘gathering things ready to leave work’ (127 cals), which all comes off your weekly ice-cream allowance.

This is where procrastination comes in. Pick your time-wasting activity carefully, and you can be guilt-free in the knowledge that you’ll stay healthy and extend your life expectancy – giving you longer to finish that book anyway.

Reading is a bad idea (19 cals). Even an hour of ‘heavy and vigorous’ cleaning burns a measly 127 cals, proof (if needed) that it’s not worth the effort.

Carrying groceries upstairs is great, at 413 cals per hour. But the obvious next step would be to eat the groceries, which may be counterproductive.

An hour of playing with children burns 254 cals, making a school author visit roughly equivalent to four doughnuts. If you can’t find a school, an hour of bathing a dog burns 159 cals. Presumably playing with children whilst bathing a dog nets you 413 calories – but the stress may outweigh the other health benefits.

Running and swimming are part of many writers’ exercise regimes. Experienced procrastinators can combine the two with ‘water jogging’ (445 cals), with bonus biscuits for the energy expended in working out what to wear.

If you’re writing horror, combine procrastination and research with some ‘fast axe chopping’. You’ll use up 1,016 cals per hour, leaving little energy to chase after victims.

‘Making an arrest’ uses an impressive 191 cals per hour, but if you can’t find any criminals (or they take less than an hour to apprehend) ‘digging for worms’ (with shovel) burns exactly the same. While you’re in the garden, spend some time weeding (222 cals) – think of it as practise for editing.

Posting on Twitter isn’t listed on Calorielab, but we’ll assume it’s the same as ‘directing traffic’ (95 cals). Double cookie allowance if you’re retweeted.

Your word count won’t thank you, but your calorie count has never looked better.


Isabel Thomas has written more than 90 books for children and teenagers, published by DK, Pearson, Collins, Raintree, Wayland and Bloomsbury. Before becoming a writer, she studied science and worked in journalism and children’s publishing. She is zookeeper to three young sons.


About Isabel Thomas

Isabel Thomas studied Human Sciences at Oxford University before becoming a writer. Her books for young people include HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD (OUP), shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2016, and SELF-DESTRUCTING SCIENCE: SPACE (Bloomsbury). Isabel lives in Cambridge, where she is zookeeper to three young sons. Website: Twitter: @raisingchimps

3 comments on “Procrastinate – it’s good for you!

  1. Pingback: Procrastinate – it’s good for you! | The blog what I wrote

  2. Pingback: Isabel Thomas » Procrastinate – it’s good for you!

  3. Muriel
    August 19, 2016

    I have rarely laughed so much. Thank you for this inspiring post.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on November 25, 2013 by .

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