Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Structured Procrastination: the fine art of doing less, but in a structured way,
or “I’m sorry it took me so long to get it done, I had less important things to do.”

This essay is pretty old and I read many years ago, but I just realized I never shared it. TL;DR, if you can’t beat them join them. 🙂

If you are a procrastinator, don’t try to beat your tendency into submission, instead leverage it to work on other projects. It follows the same logic that recommends to automate as many tasks as possible if you are lazy (something most CS people can relate to). After all, your brain is capable of only so many hours of creative work per day, the rest is drudge work.
Source: Structured Procrastination: Do Less & Deceive Yourself

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The two things I need to overcome to live better: Sloth and FoF (Fear of Failure).

Sloth is when I refrain from doing something because of the effort it requires.

FoF is when I refrain from doing something because of its possible negative outcome.

In either case, they might stop me from acting.

I am essentially lazy. For me inaction is somewhat pleasant. On the other hand, I recognize that too much of it is detrimental. So I always try to force myself into action. I try to create an environment in which action is as easy as inaction: have stuff to read or to do very close by; when in doubt say yes to proposals; leverage the elation of the moment to get my projects to a point where the rest is downhill; place reminders in common places (so that I always consider finishing that on-line course instead of aimlessly wandering throughout the Web). This post was written thanks to these tricks. I wrote its outline on the spur of the moment and  I saw its reminder almost every day. It took a while but eventually I got it done. (note to self: it works!)

I find that fighting Sloth for me is somewhat easier than fighting FoF. Probably it is because I am less used to FoF: I am not someone who gets easily scared. I like travelling and having new experiences, I enjoy surprises, I have learned to adapt to different situations (workplaces, flatmates, whatever..). But there are a few situations where FoF kicks in. In these situations, I feel nervous, clumsy and awkward. This happens only on very personal matters, the ones I am unwilling to face, or sometimes (to a much lesser extent) when in a difficult situation from which I see no way out.

FoF is also harder to fight because of the risk. If you are just lazy there is no risk in acting, but if you are scared it takes some courage to make a move. It takes self confidence to trust yourself enough. You need a hint of carelessness. Know that life is as it comes, and you have to let it go a bit to actually enjoy it.  From time to time, be a bit loony too 🙂

Whatever you do, you don’t have control on everything. Whatever comes, you are only a small part of an immense universe. If you look at all of this in the right perspective, if you think that anyway the worst you can do is to screw up a bit, then here fear goes away. Think that in the world there are people that have a life much harder than yours, who have to fight to survive. Look at the proportions of your problem, and most likely you will understand you are lucky, very very lucky to be worrying about your current tiny matter: it means you have no bigger one.

This fight is not an easy one. But as for everything, recognising it is the first and most important step.

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Summer summary

Thesis Repulsion Field

Thesis Repulsion Field


Beach and sea

How can you resist?

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