#AtoZChallenge: Procrastination

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Panda at Chiang Mai zoo taken by user:KayEss {{gfdl}}

If you are the one person who doesn’t do it, who has a task, sits down, completes the task with nary a dreamy glance out of the window, please, please tell me how. Right here, in the comments, break it down for me, in detail, what it feels like, what your mind does, when it’s a straight shot from A to Z.

Case in point: as I was writing this, I decided I wanted to open the blinds more fully, which then alerted me to the streaky gray of my window. Was it inside? Outside? Obviously that’s a question that couldn’t be answered after finishing this post, so I got a cleaning cloth and checked.

Inside.

Huh. Making it streakier, I needed to dry as I cleaned. Great. Oh I need the stepladder to get the top of the window. Hang on, hang on, blog post. It can be cleaned after the blog post.

And here we are.

Here’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t get things done. They happen. Sometimes I think the diversions are just my brain taking the time to work things out without my input.

But there must be a clean, minimalist beauty to knowing something must be done, and without hesitation, doing it. Deadlines get me there; it’s one the reasons my timer trick — setting the timer and getting on with it — is so effective for me.

But on the other hand, sometimes you just need a clean window.

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27 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Procrastination

  1. Procrastination seems like a rather harsh word to use. Straight lines are over-rated. It’s the indirect ways in which one gets things done that make life interesting. Be interesting. 🙂

  2. @breakerofthings

    Have you read Asimov’s Azazel short stories? There is one about a writer who complains about waiting in queues and other lost time. His wish is unexpectedly granted and he never has to queue again…all his thinking time disappears and he never writes again…so be careful what you wish for!

  3. No suggestions for you as my procrastination level and distract-ability level are high. I will sometimes try a list of things I notice if I have a tight deadline with the idea it will serve as a reminder later. Except later rarely comes and the list grows until I recycle it.

    • I’ve been there! Though I have to say I got distracted earlier when I should have been writing, emptied the dishwasher, and got inspired. So I think there is something to say for following the breeze! 😉

    • I can definitely put off starting. One thing I do when I’m like that is give myself a choice between the task I’m slow to start and one I want to do less. Either way, something gets done! 😉

  4. The window sounds more like lack of focus, than actual procrastination, though the two can often work together. Procrastination is deliberately putting off something you don’t want to do. Did you choose to battle window smudges as a way of avoiding writing this blog post? No. Sounds like you simply got distracted. Also sounds like, in this situation, that you didn’t have a process for judging priority.

    You noticed the smudge. But was it more important than the blog post? If you left the smudge, would you have been unable to finish the blog post before cleaning the window?

    If you are sincere in learning how to stop procrastinating, get into the habit of determining priorities. Think of priorities as promises made to friends. If you make a promise to go out to lunch with one friend at noon, and another friend comes along at 11:45 and says, “Let’s grab some pizza,” are you going to completely ditch your lunch plans with noontime friend simply because quarter-to friend came along?

    “But… but… window smudge!”

    Yeah. So why was the window smudge more important than finishing the blog post? You might think it’s not important which gets done first, but actually, it is. You made a commitment to the blog post first, and in reality, you made a commitment to yourself. Why did you break that commitment?

    • I appreciate the time you took to write this response!

      In reality, though, it genuinely didn’t matter that I saw to the window first; the blog post was finished, and I got an anecdote out of it. Overall, it turned out to be a win-win.

      I might also disagree that it was distraction over procrastination; clearly my subconscious wanted more material, and put off writing until it had it.

      But thanks for your thoughts, I’ll definitely think about them!

  5. Sometimes procrastination actually helps! Like if you’re stuck when writing, going for a walk or washing the dishes can sometimes trigger an idea. Of course, then there’s the pointless procrastination where you just don’t want to do anything… that’s definitely much worse! I try to give myself little rewards for accomplishing bits and pieces. Bribery works! ;D

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