Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

stick to schedule and do non-work task, or start work job that has to run for a while?

i always wonder about this.  I had scheduled to do some stuff at a particular time.  The time is flexible, but if i dont schedule it in i wind up not doing it (eg, exercise).  But when that time came, i had a work job that i could start, and it has to run for 15 min or an hour (varies). But, it's not ready to start just now.  I have to fix some stuff first.

So, what do i do?  Do i stick to the time and just fix the work stuff when i get back?  The disadvantage is that the thing can be running while i'm gone.  That seems more productive to me.

But i find that if i start to fix it, it might take me 2hrs and i dont have a real good way of stopping myself.  I guess people here use timers.  Maybe that's an answer.  Tasks like this can feel like they're "just about done" and that feeling can go on for hours for me.  so when my timer goes off, i'm in the exact same situation.  Leave now or just a little more so it can run when i'm gone?

How do you guys handle this situation?

your feedback is extremely welcome

it is great to have people to talk this over with.

g: it's not something i can schedule.  This situation is sort of unique and dynamic and hard to put down in words.  Let's say i schedule i'll work from 9am-12pm.  At 12pm i scheduled myself to go running.  Then at 12pm, i feel like i have one more bug to figure out in my code and then i can run the job--which takes 1 hr.  It feels like it should only take 5 min.  Should i stick to my schedule, and stop working?  Or should i try to fix that last thing, and get the "efficiency" of running the job while i'm exercising?

Actually, to hear me describe it, it sounds like i'm being perfectionistic in trying to be ultra-efficient and get 2 things done at once.  It also has that urgency feeling that i get at the end of my blocks of time--have to cram as much in there.  I think that feeling comes from the fear that i might not get back to it.

This line of thinking is making me think that i should just cut-n-run.  Fix the bug when i get back, and if that's 1:05 and the job runs til 2:05 that is not a catastrophe and i can deal with it.

k: in my case the urge is to fix it now.  to just get this one last thing done, and then gain the efficiency of the job running while i'm...running <grin>.

i dont think i understood your last point.  I do think i can be doing other things while the job runs--but i'd have to go off my schedule.

f: experimentation is a good idea.  I will consider trying this, tho i feel like i will be too disorganized to really keep track.  If i look back (ie doing an "experiment" by gathering existing data :) i think it seems that sometimes i really to get that 5 minute task done and get the job to run while i'm exercising.  The other 50% i usually get stuck for 30-60 min trying to get it to run, and then i've missed my workout.

Geesh, this one is also making me think it's better to stick to the schedule.

Once again, it is really valuable to me to be able to work this out with all of you.  And one big thanks to pro for creating this forum in the first place.

I think a schedule sounds

I think a schedule sounds like the way to go, but you can have a little bit of flexibility to the schedule?

Ie, you schedule yourself to *stop* and go for your run as soon as you finish a bugfix/code change after 11.30am?
And then if there hasn't been a good 'stopping point' by 12.30pm, too bad!
Time for your run!
Then you don't ever miss the run, but you'd get to feel like you're being productive (most of the time, maybe?).

that's an interesting

that's an interesting idea.  Instead of "12" as my time, since it is flexible, "11:30-12:30" as the time, with a hard deadline at 12:30.  That means come 11:30 if there is no such quick fix looming, and sometimes there isn't, i can just go then.

It also feeds into what F suggested, because, over time, i think i would see whether i tend to go at 11:30 more, between 11:30-12:30, or have to cut it off at 12:30 more often.

wow, thinking about this--especially thinking about doing it, because i think it will work--raises anxiety in me.  I wonder why.  That fear of success thing?  How'd you do that G?

Intellecutally this sounds like it has some promise.  Thanks!!

The drawbacks now that I

The drawbacks now that I think about it - it's more complicated, and when it comes down to it, making extra decisions can be draining.

It might be easier just to have a hard deadline in some ways, and especially if it's raising anxiety levels. But, that's the context dependent stuff - I still think it's a good idea, and have seen some people use it well. I find it just helps me actually stick to the 'hard' deadline, rather than trying to push *that* one as well. ;)

yeah that's the same value i see

If you have that 1hr window (altho, thinking about it, i may just need 1/2 hr) then it would seem to get me into that feeling of "ending" the task.  It prepares me for the hard deadline.  It, in effect, gives a home for my transition time to live in.

It's more decisions, but they seem of the easier type, because either way, if i stop or continue working, in that window, it's "right" :)

I think i'm going to try it.

Maybe experiment?

Hi Clement,

How about trying one option, then the other, and see which best helps you do the things you want to get done?  Ex., try always sticking to the scheduled time for a month, then try always running a work job when possible for a month -- and see which works better for you.


From personal experience

Not sure if this applies generally, but for me "it'll be more efficient to do X later" is almost always an excuse for procrastination.

If you'll be twiddling your thumbs while the work job runs, then of course fix the work stuff first.
But most likely, you can be working on other stuff while the job I'd say stick to the schedule so procrastination doesn't creep in.

Just an idea, but...Schedule

Just an idea, but...
Schedule your day in two blocks? Like, schedule your morning, but re-arrange your afternoon schedule at midday if you need to?
But then, stick to that schedule.

Then, think more carefully about what you're scheduling. Put the work thing first, so that it can run while you're doing later tasks, but have it scheduled - fixed time limits? Yeah, maybe a timer.
A little and often is apparently the better way. Not that I'd know - I tend to do stuff in mega-chunks too, always 'nearly finished'. ;)