unstructures

Goodbye, Cubicle Land by pairadocs

Lifehacker dished a link to this Talk of the Nation feature How to Be a Productive Procrastinator with and Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl of the Department of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and author of the blog Don’t Delay at Psychology Today and “structured procrastinator” John Perry who claims to have discovered a way to “convert procrastinators into effective human beings” and uses their bad habit. He writes:

…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.

Dr. Pychyl has some thoughts about this. I think that I have begun to grope towards doing something similar. My work in webdesign/new media/marketing/blogging/Michigan obsessing/whatever the heck it is that I do for a living seems to rely on an awful lot of tasks. These all seem to be able to bleed time from things I mentally classify as more important. 

Perry some pretty funny (and insightful) essays that I read while procrastinating on a number of other more urgent tasks like A Plea for the Horizontally Organized and Laptops and Lab Manuals.

The photo is Goodbye, Cubicle Land by pairadocs, who is apparently saying goodbye to cubicle land on Monday. His blog says he’s cleverly disguised as an adult. I don’t know about that but he does build a mean model.

I’m gonna procrastinate celebrate Nature Photography Day now.

 

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