Wednesday, November 07, 2007

That Thief We Call Procrastination

This past weekend was a bit crazy, so I haven't really had chance to think of much to post until now. I took the GRE and did very well on the verbal and math sections. I won't know how I did on the writing part until they send me my scores in a few weeks, but I feel good about the essays I wrote. Also, the Quixotic Pragmatist had surgery last week so if you get a chance, leave her a get well soon message. In other news, the fish I gave her a while back ago was apparently a pregnant fish because it gave birth on Saturday. And then promptly died on Sunday. Yikes! But for now the little fishies are swimming happily and doing quite well.

I've been thinking a lot about the subject of procrastination lately. Most everyone I know procrastinates to at least some degree and still get things done, eventually. But what happens when it starts to interfere with your responsibilities and relationships?


It seems that there's a point of no return for many actions. You keep meaning to send a thank-you note, visit a sick friend, make amends with someone you've hurt or offended, or wish someone a happy birthday. And then the opportunity passes. The thank-you note is out of place a year later, your friend is healthy or much worse than sick, the space left between estranged friends is a wedge larger than ever, and it's closer to someone's half-birthday than their real one. I'm sure I'm not the only one guilty of doing these sorts of things. It's so easy to put something off until there's not much point in doing it anymore. But how do we make sure we don't miss the important things?

I read an interesting article the other day about structured procrastination. The author argues that procrastinators rarely do nothing, but instead do many somewhat useful things to avoid doing more important things. He says that many procrastinators make the mistake of clearing their schedule so they will be able to tackle those important things. Instead, they should be packing their to-do-lists with many important tasks that need to be done. The procrastinator can then "trick" herself into doing important tasks while procrastinating the one at the top of the list.

I'm not sure if it'll work, but the idea is intriguing and worth trying. Do you procrastinate? How do you deal with these tendencies?

6 comments:

Sarakastic said...

Do I procrastinate? I read this & thought "What an excellent question, I'll answer it later". I wish I was making that up...

Diane said...

Writing and sending thank you notes in a timely manner is my biggest issue. I'm simply awful about this. I also put off cleaning on occasion.

Destructive, no not me.

ellesappelle said...

I don't think that that article really got it right - I mean, you still don't do the number one item, however many other 'important' things you do. I guess it's helpful to have the attitude that while you hum and hah about doing the big issue, you might as well do something else. But ultimately you have to do it - or it's still procastination. It doesn't get cancelled out.

heidikins said...

Interesting! Will try re-ordering my to-do list this weekend, see if I can put the "unimportant" thing first and more important things in the middle... will share results. ;o)

xox

Stacy said...

Oh, gosh. Thank you notes. There's several I should have written ages ago, and now it's at the point where I'm thinking, "Do I even bother?"

~Virginia~ said...

I'm a huge procrastinator. From the time I get up (3 snooze hits) to the time I go to bed (just 10 more minutes of reading!). I'm hopeless. :)