My house is never so clean as when there’s some major big desk project I want to avoid. The project will get done by its due date – decades of freelancing instill that habit – and meanwhile whole closets get organized if I’m procrastinating really hard.
Stanford philosopher John Perry suggests that procrastinators quit trying to reform or clear their calendars. Instead, draw up a ranked list of things you have to do, with the most urgent at the top. The top one won’t get done, but you’ll throw yourself into other worthwhile things to avoid it. Eventually something even more urgent will come up, and you’ll turn to the previous top-ranked priority as a way to procrastinate on the new one.
“At this point, the observant reader may feel that structured procrastination requires a certain amount of self-deception, since one is, in effect, constantly perpetrating a pyramid scheme on oneself,” Perry writes. For his answer to this and other details of his method, click here to read his entertaining and instructive article.
11/20/2017 09:14:46 am
Yeah, this was moderately entertaining. But as the person who is in the sometimes annoying position of bieng given a deadline by a client, and then having difficulty meeting the deadline because the client isn't meeting their own deadlines for the project (send me copy, provide me with images), I chuckled less than I might have otherwise. His section on not submitting the book list would be his equivalent task. If no one else is getting their essays done for the book, either, oh well. The book won't get published this year after all. But students need their books. That's a more egregious degree of procrastination.
Love applying the "inflated importance" and "important and urgent" to the procrastinator rather than the task! And when the procrastination keeps others from meeting their commitments, it smacks of hubris.
11/21/2017 10:33:56 am
Sarah. Perfect. Perfect in every word. Thank you. Fitting procrastination to mood or energy level isn't genuine procrastination. It's the right way to get through the day/week. It's more mindful.
A Facebook friend wrote, "It's not procrastination. It's waiting for the right time." For me it's being more mindful, or waiting for the right time, when the "not now" decision is calm and intentional. It's procrastination when I'm beating myself about about it, which rarely does much good.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.