Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How procrastination gets things done...

John Tierney writes a delightful piece on not getting some things done. He notes several authors' comments on procrastination:

The key to productivity, John Perry argues in “The Art of Procrastination,” is to make more commitments — but to be methodical about it...At the top of your to-do list, put a couple of daunting, if not impossible, tasks that are vaguely important-sounding (but really aren’t) and seem to have deadlines (but really don’t). Then, farther down the list, include some doable tasks that really matter.,,“Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list,” Dr. Perry writes. “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.”
Robert Benchley:
“The secret of my incredible energy and efficiency in getting work done is a simple one,” he wrote. “The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”
Piers Steel ("The Procrastination Equation", 2011):
For most of us, procrastination can be beaten down, but not entirely beaten…My best trick is to play my projects off against each other, procrastinating on one by working on another….We are willing to pursue any vile task as long as it allows us to avoid something worse.
Procrastinators rarely sit around absolutely idle. The author Raymond Chandler forced himself to write detective stories by setting aside 4 hours each day with two rules:
a) You don’t have to write.

b) You can’t do anything else.
Another rule from Perry:
Never do today any task that may disappear by tomorrow.

1 comment:

Ann Stanley said...

This is good! As a procrastinator I do versions of the above strategies. It's good that I'm not alone! I came to your interesting blog via a search on 'intuition'.

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