The Art of Procrastination
If I'm to be candid, I actually don't understand why procrastination has such a negative connotation.
Is it because we are all drinking the kool-aid and subscribing to the belief that fast paced days with jam-packed schedules is representative of a life worth living?
We tend to believe that anyone who isn't constantly doing something at all times is a slacker. We're suspicious of the person who isn't ticking off checklists throughout the day.
But there are times when you simply need to exercise your right to be still, checkout, daydream, doodle, or whatever it is you do when your body and mind needs a break.
No, you can't give the middle finger to everything in your life – but when you have a strong resistance towards doing perhaps it's a sign that you should give in and just try being.
That's one way of looking at it. The other is that maybe your mind has a knack for avoiding priorities and you need to trick it into doing so.
The excerpt below is from the Art of Procrastination by Stanford Professor John Perry. I'd be lying if I said it didn't describe me accurately!
The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing.
Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.
Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important.
If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it. However, the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.
Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact.
The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top.
But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list.
With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.
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