Two Kinds of Procrastination
As I've been working here and making progress in overcoming some of my procrastination tendancies, I'm seeing that I procrastinate in two kinds of contexts.
One is overt and clearly "avoidance" behavior. Perhaps I have a long list of to-dos and I don't know which to do first and I feel overwhelmed, so instead of picking one I go surf the net or play Freecell or what have you. A variant of this is there's a particular task that is urgent and important but for whatever reason -- I suddenly feel unprepared to do it, I'm afraid of a confrontation that it involves, whatever -- I deliberately avoid that task.
This is the most acute and dangerous form of procrastination for me, and I have found the work I've done here, with chatbox and check-ins, to be very helpful in getting me past avoidance blocks.
But there's another, more subtle form, and I'm not sure that "procrastination" carries quite the right connotations, although it certainly involves putting things off. I'll call it "deferral" behavior.
Here's an example. Let's say I have project X (a magazine article) do in 1 month.
At the beginning of the project I'll set up a series of milepost tasks: Plan the project, do the research, write, fact-check, rewrite, submit.
To make this discussion easy let's just say I've got a total of 30 days from start to finish. I assign "plan" to Day 1, "research" to start on Day 4 with a due date of Day 20; "write" to start on Day 21 with a due date of Day 25, and fact-check and rewrite assigned to start on Day 26 with a due date of Day29, with shipping on Day 30.
What happens, though, is that, early on it's easy to put off parts of the task. And it's especially easy and seems necessary to do so if I have other projects that I'm working on in the current time frame, especially if they're due NOW.
Thus, Day 1 comes and I move "plan" to Day 2, and keep moving it back. Then the start date for "research" gets pushed back, too. Suddenly it's Day 15 and I haven't planned or started research. Or worse.
It's not that I'm avoiding the task (not necessarily, anyway). It's that Everything Else takes priority and it gets pushed off the radar screen.
It helps, some, to schedule some of the stuff and to set aside uninterrupted blocks of time, but that sometimes is a lot easier said than done.
So, I am curious if anyone can identify with this latter kind of procrastination and if you've found ways to combat it.