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.

assuming its time consuming

I'm pulling this topic out of the August 17th day thread because it's such a great example of a common reason for procrastination.

Teri wrote this about why she didn't try to learn HTML:
That's why I'm scared to go to HTML sites.
I actually learned C++, and some others, but it's so time consuming! Just to look cool?!

A true procrastinator's way of thinking. ;) How do you know it's time consuming when you've never even given it 15 focused minutes of your time?

Actually, what you need to know to make your messages here look nice you could learn in 15 minutes. There is no comparison between C++ and HTML!!

Assuming that something will take a long time is a major reason for procrastination. Often the task takes much less time than we think. This is a great example. I know HTML and I know C++, and there is no comparison between the learning curves. C++ is vastly harder. HTML isn't even a programming language - it's just a bunch of formatting tags. I know that if Teri spent 15-30 minutes on the site, she'd know everything she needed to know to make colorful posts.

It is a great example!

It's one of my main reasons for procrastinating, for sure.

We put it off because we overestimate how long it's going to take so we never start because we think we don't have that much time available to do it...OR...

We put of starting beacuse we assume it will only take a short time and then of course we see that deadline flashing by after we've already doubled our estimated time taken on it.

And the reason this is in colour? Because I took 5 minutes to check out the w3school site and figured it out. So see, Teri - only 5 minutes!! (I thought it would be longer, too).


Sorry, Teri, I reread my post and I sound like a smug smart-arse in that last paragraph. I didn't mean it like that!!!!!! :O


I didn't take it personal at all or think you were a smart ass :) I don't take much of anything personal ;)

Have you read The Four Agreements?

I don't know either..

No, I haven't heard of it. Do tell!

four agreements?

I'll bite. What are the four agreements?

Here ya go

Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you wonít be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

easy to say

These are the sorts of things that are easy to say, but essentially undoable because they ignore human nature. People are going to never misspeak, take something personally, make an assumption, or do less than their best? It's human nature. Saying "don't do this" doesn't seem helpful to me.

Still worth the attempt

In Buddhist training we still think it's worth making the attempt - and not making ourselves guilty about being imperfect human beings. When we take the precepts (guidelines for Buddhist living) in their shorthand form they are something like 'not speaking ill of people', but in their long form they are something like 'I will train myself to do my best not to speak ill of people'. The training is the practice, and doing our best, whether or not it's perfect, is the way we live our lives.

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the practice is the thing

Thanks for the explanation of Buddhist precepts. That's a helpful way to look at it.

Thanks Teri!

This fits in so well with what I'm working on spiritually at the moment. (It also helps explain why you're so inspirational Teri :) )

P.S. And you're doing fabulously with the HTML - hotlinks and everything! WTG!

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great point

Thanks Pro!

"Assuming that something will take a long time is a major reason for procrastination. Often the task takes much less time than we think."

I do think like that - and think that major things like an assignment can be done in 2 hrs the night before it's due, when in fact it's an 8 hr job that should have been broken down. Which then causes a time-binge issue.

What do you think?

keeping records of how long stuff takes

Procrastinators are notoriously dreadful at estimating how long things take. Usually they drastically under-estimate, but sometimes they over-estimate as well.

The solution is this:

1. Do one thing at a time - no multitasking (this has been found in research to be very inefficient).

2. Keep records of how long different tasks take you. If you do this for a while, you will become better and better at estimating.



Good for a giggle...

Hee hee - you made me laugh in the middle of writing a proposal. No mean feat!!!!!!! :lol:

Finally - Finally

I kept trying - I used w3school example in a test.html file and it worked in the browser, but when I posted here - it would be in black/white.
I copied Milo's source from above and it would also work in a test.html file, but not here. So I downloaded/installed Go!zilla, and it's working fine?
I can't sleep anyway and very mad at myself b/c I cut my foot and can't run in the AM :(

Wow - how empowering

I'm so happy!!!
OK - I can change colors, font style, weight....
Pro - are you proud :D
all of this in about 30 min. Actually less to learn and more to play :P
I actually understand quite a bit now! Except the big space under my heading :O

congratulations, Teri!!

You did it! The reason you have the space is that you have some unnecessary tags around the whole thing:

<div class="content"><p<> [rest of the stuff] </p></div>

Remove these unnecessary tags and the space will be gone.

You only need the div with a class paramter for special things - never would need it here.

In a regular HTML page you'd use paragraph tags (the p's), but you don't need them in forum messages because "carriage returns" are interpreted. In a regular Web page they are ignored.

And by the way, I do see the Papyrus font. I said in email that I didn't think it was standard on people's computers, but apparently it is - at least I have it on mine.

It's standard

It's the one I usually use in Emails and it came as standard.

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I got the space, too. I have since figured out that you have to start the text directly after the font tag. Like, immediately. Edit your post and you'll see you've pressed enter after your font tag opener (or whatever its real name is :?).

Everything comes with practise :)

why the extra space

In your case it was caused by a carriage return after the font tag. This wouldn't matter in a regular Web page because carriage returns are ignored, but in a message they are interpreted so it inserts another line.

In Teri's case the extra space at the top was caused by unnecessary tags.

I know all this because, as Webmaster, I have the ability to look at the source code of people's messages. 8)

It can swing either way

I've put things off for ~months~ thinking it would be time consuming, and it only took me 10 mins. Sometimes, though, I assume something will be really quick, so I put it off to the last minute, only to discover it takes me ~ages~.

Moral: Do it at first opportunity - then if I find it takes ages I probably have the chance to have another go at it, and if it's quick I don't have to suffer worrying about it!

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that's a good point

It's gone the other way for me, too. I wait until the last minute, then find out I don't have something crucial.

I totally agree with your "moral" - either way, it's better not to put it off. I think for me, it will help me to remember that I can't know how long a thing will take until I've gotten started on it and given it some focused attention.

new thread on "assuming its time consuming"

I just want to add... I do this myself all the time. I'll avoid something and avoid something because I think it's going to be very time consuming or difficult, and when I finally get to it, it takes 10 minutes. I worry and suffer for days or weeks over something that took me only 10 minutes!

Another thought on "time consuming"

Don't forget that procrastination consumes time, too.

I've put things off for weeks that turned out to be 30 minutes of work -- so I wasted hours of time and worried myself sick over a half hour?

Sometimes it really is an issue of mis-estimating the time something will take, and sometimes our worry about a task blows it up out of all proportion. I have made lists of "things to do today" that I think will eat up entire days... but get finished in less than a hour.

We do have a strange relationship with time, don't we?


Something weird about time

I spend more time doing housework these days than I ever did in my entire life, and I end up with more time for other things! Who'd have thought that?! I suspect there are two reasons, 1) It's quicker to find things because they're where they're supposed to be, and 2) When the place is a mess I don't want to do anything - I work better in a clear space - so messiness leads to procrastination.

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I have made lists of "things to do today" that I think will eat up entire days... but get finished in less than a hour.

Wanna swap lists? LOL! :D

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Time fears

pro, you have done some work recently on estimating how long things take and then recording how long they actually take. Do you think that learning to estimate time more accurately will be the end result, and that this will take away some of the fear about how long things will take? I myself often have no idea how long things will take. Mostly I underestimate. But then again, it seeems I sometimes take an abnormally long time on things compared to other people (partly because of perfectionism, partly because of attempting to juggle too many things at once, partly because of getting off-focus from time to time, daydreaming, interruptions that others do not tolerate--which is a values question for me, and one that I'm willing to go against the grain on out of compassion--and a few other things that contribute to procrastination as well as other delays).

things take me longer than others, too

pro, you have done some work recently on estimating how long things take and then recording how long they actually take. Do you think that learning to estimate time more accurately will be the end result, and that this will take away some of the fear about how long things will take?

I've seen this recommended in several different time management groups as a way to do a better job in scheduling your time. That's why I was doing.

I myself often have no idea how long things will take. Mostly I underestimate.

Historically I've tended to be mostly clueless about this. Usually I drastically underestimate. This was a very serious problem when I first started my Web development business because underestimating my time caused me to underprice my work - and not by a little, by a huge amount. I once priced a job at $4300 that I now recognize should have cost $15,000 or more (two custom-built e-commerce sites).

But then again, it seeems I sometimes take an abnormally long time on things compared to other people...

Me, too! In fact, it takes so much longer for me to do things than others I have a bit of a complex about it. I read in an article on a Web site (not sure I still have the link) that this is from ADD. ADD somehow "narrows the pipe" that information flows through. It's been found that in performance tests, children with ADD do as well or better than children without ADD if they're given more time. This explains why I didn't get 800's on my SAT's, which really I should have. My scores of 650 or so did not reflect my ability, and I never understood why I didn't score better (I was a straight A student) until I read this article.

Good reasons...

You have convinced me (without trying) that I need to start tracking my time better, too. Now that I own my own business and I estimate jobs, it's very important i get it right.

logging the time you spend

Milo, I've been thinking for some time that you would benefit from trying to schedule your day a little more - considering how long things take and mapping out blocks of time. I said this in a couple messages to you, actually.

I think that not doing this is what causes you to not finish things. When you have an over-large pool of tasks to choose from each day, you'll tend to do the new and interesting ones, rather than going back to finish old projects.

But I will need help...

I was just thinking about this more, and having a whine about how it's really hard to do with kids because they just unschedule whatever it is you're trying to schedule!

I will need some tips from everyone here to help me out on this one.

I guess it will come down to doing one job at a time (which you've wirtten about a few times before, too) and not trying to put a load of washing on, write a proposal, change a nappy and play fairies all at the same time??!

I'm getting ideas as I write, though. I was thinking recently of doing the Super Nanny thing and putting a big family routine up on the kitchen wall. I can then have dedicated kid time, housework time and work time each day I'm at home. Oh, and DH time (yeah..right..). Maybe that would help me block the time and plan it out for the day and actually following through on everything I start. AND I won't spend as much time saying "in a minute, when I finish this..." to my poor babies when they want me to play.

planning for distractions

I read in Julie Morgenstern's book "Time Management from the Inside Out" that you should schedule in time for delays that you know will occur. For example, if you can't leave the house until your daughter is ready and she's always a half hour late, then allow an extra half hour for getting ready.

I think your idea of getting your family on a regular routine will help, too.

Yep, yep, yep & yep!!

You're right (of course!) and I will start doing it straight away!