Monday, 5 March 2012

Procrastination – 5 reasons we do it and 5 ways to prevent it (part 1)

In case you had not noticed (which is pretty likely, since I doubt
many people are following a blog that has only one post so far), I
have missed roughly eight deadlines so far. It is okay, since I am
required to do 24 blogs in 4 months, not one or two every week. I have
a dozen or so subjects lined up, but I keep procrastinating (Dutch:
vertonen van uitstelgedrag). So, instead of simply writing the blogs I
had planned, I will procrastinate one more time by writing this one
instead. And I will do it in the style of cracked, since I am a lazy
very awesome.

#5 Homework is not fun

So, you are a student of law. Obviously you can stand reading over a
100 pages a week about the details of tort law without succumbing to
other pleasures because you do have some interest in laws and rules.
But at the same time, it takes work to understand. And our brains are
hot-wired to perceive of all work as inherently unfun. If you are
trying to get some homework done while surrounded by game consoles,
televisions, computers and various information sources (like the new
Ars Aequi), it is difficult. When another person is present it starts
approaching impossible. I mean, even Farmville is probably 1 or 2 M
more fun* than homework.

The solution
: You got this far, so you probably already have some
techniques to do work instead of indulging. Common tactics include
cutting off access (for instance by studying in a library) and by
making the fun things a reward for after you have done your work. Make
sure to forbid yourself from spending even a second watching
television or doing other things until it is over. The problem with
this though is…

* Where F=fun and 1 M equals the merriment it takes to accelerate 1 kg
of mass to 1 meter per second squared without complaining.

#4 Procrastinating ‘legitimately’

Writing for this blog is fun. Therefore, I should not procrastinate my
homework by writing for this blog. Doing chores around the house is
important, but not as important as homework. Therefore I should not
procrastinate my homework by doing chores. In this way, homework
becomes the thing that needs to be finished before other things can be
completed. Then, by procrastinating the bigger tasks, you end up
having no time at all for anything but the one big task.

The solution
: Yes, the big tasks are very important. But if you are
procrastinating those anyway, why not do it with other things that
need to be accomplished? Usually these smaller things are actually
more fun and rewarding (because they take less time), so starting your
day with those can build up the momentum to keep going and tackle the
big tasks.

The top 3 will be posted Wednesday and will all include fears, because
procrastination actually stems from some deeper issues and I am very deep.

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