Structured Procrastination

This article seems to describe some of my behavior pretty well:

… 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.

As in, I wrote Bloggo as a way of avoiding doing a project for work. The work did get done, late, but I also had this other great accomplishment.

The author, John Perry, points out a flaw of this philosophy:

At this point you may be asking, “How about the important tasks at the top of the list, that one never does?” Admittedly, there is a potential problem here.

Perry’s solution of making sure that the “most important” tasks are the ones that are the least dependant on deadlines is somewhat of a cop-out.

My solution is to constantly rearrange the list of tasks, so the thing I was avoiding doing yesterday becomes the thing I do to ignore something new. For instance, I avoid paying the bills until a week or two before they are due, but as the deadlines get close, I decide to do the bills as a way of avoiding doing the dishes. Logically, the bills are more important because they involve money and theoretical large men breaking your legs. Instead, I think of the bills as an easy task involving a pen and paper, rather than getting my hands wet and soapy and aggrivating my eczema. This process of justifying reordering the list is crucial to convincing yourself that you’re putting things off, but once you cross that hurdle you’re on your way to lazy productivity!

Thanks Jordi Mallach