Thursday, May 19, 2016

Procrastinators Unite (5/19/2016)

Why do we procrastinate?  Beats me, and I even do it at times. 

At work there is another deadline looming and man does it get me riled up.  I work in a certificate program that is in place for 17 years or so, and people's certificate expire either on May 31 or November 30.  About 300 every half year.  Their certificate is valid for 3 whole years.  People have certain requirements they have to fulfill to the eligible to recertify, like taking classes during those three years, enter them in a tracking system and pay a small fee.  Well if you look at the date, you know: THE END IS NEAR!  Just today, I already got three emails from people who have not taken one class yet and have 13 days left to get them all in.  Fun!

This is one thing we seem to procrastinate very well: :The end of war", where we will save the lives of young men.
This is a quote on the memorial bridge over the James River in Richmond from Browns Island

Frank Partnoy writes in his book “Wait, the Art and Science of Delay” that procrastination may be good, at least when it comes to making a decision.  I can see that, on the battlefield, in sports, and in making stock decisions; maybe even in photography, taking that perfect shot.

Susanna Halonen argues in her blog in Psychology Today that procrastination actually improves your productivity and happiness:
  1. You can therefore concentrate on other (important) things and those things are getting done leaving more time for the thing you procrastinate.  (personally I find this a little farfetched, but OK).
  2. Unnecessary tasks disappear with procrastination. (I'll buy that).
  3. Procrastination shines a light on what is most important to you. (maybe).
  4. Procrastination makes you more creative. (Yes, I can really see that).
  5. Procrastination helps you make better decisions. (Partnoy agrees with that)
  6. Procrastination leads to better apologies. (I like this one, and yes I have seen some good ones, even the ones like "I started my last online course at 10 pm om May 31 and the Internet went down" ... oh well).
But you could be lying to yourself as Dustin Was suggests in his article, and that is often where I see the people that I deal with.  It is so difficult not to call them out, to rub their noses in it.  Tell them they are full of crap!

Why do I procrastinate?  Looking inward, my excuse is often motivation and inspiration, not because I know I would be making better decisions or have better apologies; I don't go to war.  Halonen's point 4 speaks to me; once inspired and once it flows I can be darn creative!  Points 2 and 3 are also up there.  But once I am inspired watch out, then my motivation kicks in higher gear.  Like earlier this week when I was working on a new course that I was designing.  It was fun, I was going strong.

However, I am different, even when I am inspired.  I need to think and mull things over (as I also describe <here>).  Sometimes I only get one or two slides developed in a day and I can just sit there and think of how to the class is going to go; about what is next.  It is fun and sometimes very exhausting.

Oh my god I just came up with a great apology why I procrastinate with the development of a new class!

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