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Rei

Procrastination

90 posts in this topic

I was just curious if this is supposed to be classified as a P trait.

I'm horrible when it comes to starting to do anything because I have to work under absolutely perfect conditions... and it seems that those never really happen. So I end up putting it off till the last possible second to work on it.

Anyone had this problem and figured out a way to correct it?

People suffering from this inefficiency now?

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Not to play directly into the stereotype, but procrastination is pretty much a defining influence in my life. Nevertheless, some tasks do need to be completed in order to maintain social function and, broadly, to remain alive. So I'll tend to allow important deadlines to approach near enough to drive me into a state of pure terror, which is what usually prompts me into finally doing something.

As for figuring out a way to correct it... perhaps tomorrow.

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As for figuring out a way to correct it... perhaps tomorrow.

You couldn't resist could you?

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You couldn't resist could you?

No. And there's a reason for that, but I'll explain later.

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Rei, I saw this article this morning - how did you know?!

By Toni Bowers, TechRepublic

Many IT leaders procrastinate unconscientiously. I think this is a mistake. If you are going to procrastinate-like any other activity that is worth doing-you should conscientiously know what you are doing and… be good at it. Many psychologists would agree that procrastination is a learned behavior. Therefore, I have provided a brief ten lesson course that will help you to master the art of procrastination. Upon completion of this mini-course, you will be an expert at not doing.

Lesson # 1 - Know what procrastination means

It is difficult to be a good procrastinator if you don’t know what procrastination means. The Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (Gramercy Books: New York, 1989) defines to procrastinate as, “v.t. 1. to defer action; delay. 2. to put off until another day or time; defer; delay.” It is generally accepted by most psychologists that procrastination is merely a way for our overstressed society to deal with the anxiety related to starting any task or making any decision. One who procrastinates is called a procrastinator. There are many people who hold this title. However, there are very few that actually use it. A trained procrastinator will have many opinions about these definitions and will probably tell you about them next week.

Lesson # 2 - Understand the history of procrastination

My research on the history of procrastination proved to be extremely interesting. In turns out, the most authoritative book on procrastination is entitled, “Procrastination through the ages: A definitive history”, (Ringenback, 1971). Further investigation, however, revealed that the book was never written. That’s great because it provides us with the second lesson. To become a master at the art of procrastination, you need to stop putting things off. You will be more effective if you simply did not do them at all.

Lesson #3 - Don’t prioritize your tasks

Most master procrastinators have nightmares about prioritized task lists. Think about it, if your tasks are prioritized, then you know which of them is most important. You will also have a clear picture of the order in which to perform each task. Unfortunately, this means that by the end of the day many of the important (and generally most difficult) tasks will be completed-assuming you cannot address all of the items on your list. Any skilled procrastinator knows that this is totally unacceptable.

Lesson #4 - Develop a short attention span

A long attention span could really be a problem for the procrastinator. That generally means that you are thinking things through. It also means that you will more than likely be extremely focused on the tasks at hand. This could only lead to an action plan for getting things done. Of course, the next logical step is that you would probably be compelled to execute the plan you developed. Not good.

Lesson #5 - Find other fun tasks that avoid work

It is imperative that you keep in mind that there are about a million other things that are a lot more fun than the items on your dreaded “To Do” list. One of my favorites is making necklaces out of paper clips. It doesn’t require a lot of skill; it is a relatively fun activity; it can consume as much time as there are available paper clips (and we all know that there are always paper clips handy); it can give the appearance that you are creative and actually doing something when engaged in idle chat with a co-worker; and there is a serene sense of achievement when you’re done. There are many other pretty effective time wasters you may chose to do that are less fun. For example, you can take your fourth trip across the street for that triple Grande latte mocha with caramel. If you do, don’t forget the whip cream. This could be worth at least another two minutes.

Lesson #6 - Hold lots of meetings

Meetings are really good alternatives to real work. Actually, meetings can be a lot of fun as well. Think about it. You can spend time with a number of people that you like; you can get to draw on flipcharts and boards (this is really neat); you get to feel real important when you sit at the head of the table; and you have the opportunity to provide an endless stream of meaningless recommendations. If you are a good procrastinator, you will get people to accept your recommendations. Of course, you can guess what will happen next. They will form subcommittees that will do what… have meetings!

Lesson #7 - Be a perfectionist

A truly good procrastinator has a high degree of discontent and frustration. This is because rarely is anything accomplished that is completely acceptable to them. Therefore, you should spend as much time as possible trying to find every flaw that exists. Since you and I know that this is virtually impossible, you can outdo everyone in the amount of work you will avoid doing. If you want to be a candidate for the title of Master of Procrastination, you need to nit-pick everything to death. Do you realize the amount of time you can spend nit-picking? Can you believe the amount of not doing that you can accomplish?

Lesson #8 - Delay everything unnecessarily

Highly productive people will get in the way of a good procrastinator. They can even make you look like a poor procrastinator by trying to get you involved in the productive activity. You can’t let that happen. You need to recognize that some of these people will be within your own organization. I have found the best way to keep this from tarnishing your procrastination expertise. You must develop good micromanagement skills as well. By micromanaging every activity and nit-picking every aspect of work (see Lesson #7); you can be assured you will delay just about everything.

Lesson #9 - Don’t be too organized

Organization is a major threat to a skilled procrastinator. Do you know what it means to have all your materials ready before you begin a task? You will more than likely have your daily schedule with you all the time. You will develop a great desire to check off tasks as you complete them. That would lead to activities such as carrying the books you must read around with you; looking up and writing down the phone numbers for those calls you need to make; jotting down some ideas for that report you must write; or laying out the materials you will need to start the next job. Be careful. That means that you are doing things.

Lesson #10

Actually, I had one more lesson to write. I think I will do it another time

For your edification.

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Considering I should be cramming for an exam at 5:30pm today...

I'm going to make this short...

Lesson #3 - Don’t prioritize your tasks - but I'm a J, I can't help it!

Lesson #4 - Develop a short attention span - I DO have a short attention span, that's partly my problem

Lesson #5 - Find other fun tasks that avoid work - there are way too many, they somehow unconsciously float to the top of that priority list

Lesson #7 - Be a perfectionist - again, I AM a perfectionist, it's part of my problem

Lesson #9 - Don’t be too organized - look at my comment to lesson #3

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A quote from C.S. Lewis (one of our own INTJs)

Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself... If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come... We must do the best we can.

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I think the major factor in my procrastination is perfectionism. If I have five hours to write a five page paper, I will take five hours. The first four hours are dedicated to perfecting the first page and the last hour is spent rushing through the rest because I can no longer afford to be a perfectionist. If there is no deadline, don't expect me to consider anything good enough to hand over to someone else for a very long time. On top of that, unless I internalize a project and make it my own (instead of some random assignment given to me by society or whomever it may be), it will not make the top of my priority list until crunch time. If there's an aspect of the project that I'm unsure of or that I could potentially fail at, procrastination is inevitable.

Advice? Perfectionism still makes me a rather inefficient yet quality employee, but I have picked up a few tips to help with the other aspects of procrastination. First, if you have work to do from home, get out of your house. Take your work anywhere else and bring only your work. I like cafes that have some people there but aren't incredibly crowded. I can sit there, sip coffee and focus. Second, really assess the work you have to do and figure out a way to make the project your own. For example, I've been wrestling with grad school applications this season, and with the deadlines so far off in the future, it's been really difficult for me to get anywhere with them. To help, I had to stop functioning under everyone else's advice and do it my way. I'm now only applying to programs that I'm really excited about, and I'm having absolutely no problem getting the work for them done in a timely fashion. Before that decision, everyone was telling me that I needed some magic number to ensure that I'd get in somewhere. I was completely overwhelmed and unmotivated. Last, keep busy by adding scheduled activities to your week that you enjoy. I find that the less free time I have, the less I procrastinate. The whole "I'll do it later" mentality doesn't work when you don't have the time later.

If that doesn't work, move to France. I lived there for a year and discovered that they do not value efficiency like Americans by any means. I loved it.

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I was just curious if this is supposed to be classified as a P trait.

I'm horrible when it comes to starting to do anything because I have to work under absolutely perfect conditions... and it seems that those never really happen. So I end up putting it off till the last possible second to work on it.

Anyone had this problem and figured out a way to correct it?

People suffering from this inefficiency now?

It's not really a P trait, at least according to the posts of all the INTJs here who are procrastinating. I'm the same--just have to wait for the right conditions to start working on something and if it's unfinished and if I continue with it later, it will take me a while to start. I'm also a perfectionist (which could be a good thing or bad thing depending on the situation).

I don't think there is a way to correct it if you're seeking the "perfect conditions" to begin work as that is unlikely to happen since everything is so imperfect. The moment just comes when I feel like doing work and that is when I'm most efficient, but if I am to wait, I would be procrastinating through deadlines. I don't have any suggestions, but people (including a psychologist) gave me a helpful (and practical) suggestion: "Just do it." Much easier said than done.

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I picked up a tee shirt while on holiday this year that amused me - it just says:

Top 10 Reason Why I Procrastinate:

1.

Well I thought it was funny.

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A quote from C.S. Lewis (one of our own INTJs)

Oh, that was fantastic. Thank you for sharing. I'm going to go tuck it into my treasured collection of wise quotations.

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A quote from C.S. Lewis (one of our own INTJs)

Indeed.

I should get that printed in huge font and stick it on my desk... staring at me...

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I ended up putting it on my online study journal. Thanks again, INTJgal!

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I picked up a tee shirt while on holiday this year that amused me - it just says:

Top 10 Reason Why I Procrastinate:

1.

Well I thought it was funny.

Yeah, I don't know about that...

I mean, I at least finish my lists (ex. to-do). As for crossing items off of it... Well, that may take an arbitrary amount of time.

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I read an awesome article/essay yesterday that put my "procrastination" in perspective:

structuredprocrastination.com

Two times in my life, I took on a lot of responsibilities, and then tried to cut back. Both times cutting back just made me more unproductive, just as predicted.

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I happily procrastinate but not the point where I'm up until 3 AM... that's too insane for my logic driven mind.

I honestly don't think there's been one assignment that I haven't completed prior to the day of the class this semester. Although I find that I'm more alert from 8 PM - 1 AM although coffee might be helping there, always been a night owl though... Please login or register to see this image. /emoticons/undecided.gif.e10ec87f7ab889560801a79bf3ebc479.gif" alt=":undecided:" />

The latest I've worked on an assignment in college was 1 AM... although I often spend mornings of classes doing the work if I have a long enough window (like 3-4 hours).

I kinda wish I got bad grades so there'd be an incentive to not procrastinate but these B's and A's only reinforce.

Editing to add that I've been a procrastinator since about 7th grade maybe.

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I procrastinate because I can, and because there is a small chance that the problem will solve itself without me doing any work. I can do my work in about 1/3 the time that anyone else can, so why work so hard?

On the other hand, if I want something, there is very little I won't do to have it immediately

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I am a P, and I am an expert procrastinator. The closer to the deadline I work the better my work. If I ever did any schoolwork far in advance there's a good chance that I would never touch it again and just turn it in.

When I was younger the problem was that I was disorganized, not that I was a procrastinator. Once I became a just-organized-enough procrastinator who got a good six hours of sleep on average before classes, school became much, much easier.

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By Toni Bowers, TechRepublic

Many IT leaders procrastinate unconscientiously. I think this is a mistake. If you are going to procrastinate-like any other activity that is worth doing-you should conscientiously know what you are doing and… be good at it.

LOL! Brilliant malapropism!!

Either Toni Bowers is a very funny writer or is unwittingly poor!

Did he mean:

Unconscientiously- without due consideration/ frivolously

OR

Unconsciously - automatically

Conscientiously- thoroughly/ faithfully

OR

Consciously- intentionally

It's like the old classic pianist line "I am playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order". Well Mr. Bowers could make the word consciously out of the letters from conscientiously- perhaps he was hedging his bets (dunno which word to use so I'll put in the longer one)!!

It's like the young boy saying to his dad-

"When I grow up, I want to be effluent".

"In the right job son, you'll be wading in it".

I'll leave Mr. Bowers with the final say- "any other activity that is worth doing-you should conscientiously know what you are doing and… be good at it."

Like unconscious writing errors? Quite right Toni, you tell 'em! :-)

*Back on topic*

I occasionally procrastinate, but try to address it in two ways previously unmentioned:

1. with the thought that people often regret not acting sooner in life and rarely lament acting too soon (referring to chronic procrastination over weeks and months)

and

2. consciously (!) recognising the underlying reason to the procrastination. This could be a multitude of reasons- fear of the unknown, fear of non-completion, assuming it's too trivial to begin, uncertain of subsequent reactions.

Perhaps IT leaders procrastinate due to their strength in recognising the size of a project/ implications to a change, before starting it.

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I am a P, and I am an expert procrastinator. The closer to the deadline I work the better my work. If I ever did any schoolwork far in advance there's a good chance that I would never touch it again and just turn it in.

When I was younger the problem was that I was disorganized, not that I was a procrastinator. Once I became a just-organized-enough procrastinator who got a good six hours of sleep on average before classes, school became much, much easier.

The closer I am to the exam, the faster I study.

I got through 12 lectures worth of notes in the 4 hours straight before my exam.

It doesn't work that way for due dates though.

The last time I had to hand in a paper and my thoughts got more and more disorganized. Or rather, it got harder and harder to form sentences that made sense of my thoughts.

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Procrastination is a big problem at times for me. I think it's exacerbated by my rather good memory. Stuff like guitar practice (I only practice 1-2 a week yet am surprisingly good at it O.o), mathematics study (or lack thereof, yet once I've memorised the formulae and equations, the recommended multitudes of study seem somewhat redundant to me). And on the opposite end of the scale, shit like reading novels for english I just never do. I generally dislike reading, and especially moreso if I'm forced to read some random book, and analyse it as well. uugh.

Also, if I don't particularly care about a project, I'll leave it until the day before to do it. Nothing motivates me like the daunting fact that the horrible assignment is due tomorrow (and also it means I only have one more day to worry about doing it ^^). Also, if it's something opinionated I try to put my own touch on it, a bit of humour, sarcasm, cynicism etc. Makes it much more enjoyable to do.

However, if the project is something I actually value, then I will put as much time as necessary into it and continue perfecting it. This is probably because it has more worth to me outside of being a school project.

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Procrastination is a big problem at times for me. I think it's exacerbated by my rather good memory. Stuff like guitar practice (I only practice 1-2 a week yet am surprisingly good at it O.o), mathematics study (or lack thereof, yet once I've memorised the formulae and equations, the recommended multitudes of study seem somewhat redundant to me). And on the opposite end of the scale, shit like reading novels for english I just never do. I generally dislike reading, and especially moreso if I'm forced to read some random book, and analyse it as well. uugh.

Also, if I don't particularly care about a project, I'll leave it until the day before to do it. Nothing motivates me like the daunting fact that the horrible assignment is due tomorrow (and also it means I only have one more day to worry about doing it ^^). Also, if it's something opinionated I try to put my own touch on it, a bit of humour, sarcasm, cynicism etc. Makes it much more enjoyable to do.

However, if the project is something I actually value, then I will put as much time as necessary into it and continue perfecting it. This is probably because it has more worth to me outside of being a school project.

I've never studied for a math test before. Until stats, because stats is different and weird.

I start research projects really early. Probably knowing I always over research... I spent a month researching my last history paper. I didn't get around to writing it till 2 nights before though. It was horrible, my cell bio exam was the day after the essay was due, so I had NO time to study for the exam. It didn't turn out well *sigh*

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Interesting tidbit: I am procrastinating... right now. Please login or register to see this image. /emoticons/suspicious.gif.b0a575671227cacc0aa35af029f5a6ef.gif" alt=":suspicious:" />

Damnit, who am I kidding, I hate working. I hate it, and I think it's bullshit that there is supposedly some form of work out there that I will like.

I will tell you what I would like, to be able to do whatever I want... and I don't mean the sit around for years eating icecream and pizza "whatever", I mean go places and experience things at my whim.

Perhaps I should cut all ties to the ways of modern society and become a vagabond.

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I procrastinate a lot, but with schoolwork it always seems like procrastination when in reality I'm just taking more time to think about what I want. That's what I like to tell myself, anyway. :)

I have noticed, though, that if I don't procrastinate and I work hard on something, I usually look at it a few days before it's due, decide I hate the whole thing, and start over from the beginning. And...usually it turns out for the best. I don't get what that's all about.

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I procrastinate a lot, but with schoolwork it always seems like procrastination when in reality I'm just taking more time to think about what I want. That's what I like to tell myself, anyway. :)

I have noticed, though, that if I don't procrastinate and I work hard on something, I usually look at it a few days before it's due, decide I hate the whole thing, and start over from the beginning. And...usually it turns out for the best. I don't get what that's all about.

YEAH THAT HAPPENS TO ME TOOO

Okay, though I usually don't look at it again till it's too late to redo it.

Interesting tidbit: I am procrastinating... right now. Please login or register to see this image. /emoticons/suspicious.gif.b0a575671227cacc0aa35af029f5a6ef.gif" alt=":suspicious:" />

Damnit, who am I kidding, I hate working. I hate it, and I think it's bullshit that there is supposedly some form of work out there that I will like.

I will tell you what I would like, to be able to do whatever I want... and I don't mean the sit around for years eating icecream and pizza "whatever", I mean go places and experience things at my whim.

Perhaps I should cut all ties to the ways of modern society and become a vagabond.

I'm procrastinating every time I'm on this forum. Which should tell you how much I procrastinate. (a lot, I'm always here)

I hate work, but I know I'd hate it worse if I couldn't afford to do the things I love doing (like spending a crap load of money on books every once in a while, and traveling, and donating money to non-sketchy charity groups that I agree with etc etc). THAT would be painful...

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