Category Archives: Procrastination

Eternal Sunshine of the Rush Job

clip_image002[6]As strange as it seems, I managed to get a bit relaxed before the New Year (even though I joked on my corporate messenger’s status about fancying New Year more like a deadline than a date). While I was a bit lazy-minded, I all of a sudden have found one more reason why we favor working under strong deadlines.

What do you mean, “I don’t like it”? Please, remember the last “all hands on the deck” situation. Wasn’t it as if you could pull several all-nighters in a row? Wasn’t it at least a bit fun to work on the problem this way? What is the reason, except for Panic Monster? Yes, I remember that working under such stress is, well, stressful. Still, there is something attractive to it too.

Ok, if you do not feel that way when you are bound to do the 5-days job in a couple of hours, probably, you don’t have to read the further bullshit. For others, I have an idea to think over: what if (I don’t know for sure, haven’t seen any researches on the topic) we like doing it this way because of clarity of the situation? Look, when you have just screwed all the terms, you usually have only one task left. Sure, no one removed the other tasks from you backlog, but, hey, we have THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK ON OUR HANDS! It is also a clear one, because instead of “I should spend some time brooding over the task” you just do it.

Therefore, for some time, we may be sure, that it is the only one we have to pay attention to. Sure thing, all those others will catch up with us soon (nope, not all, actuallyJ), but right now and right here we do not have to choose anything: just do it. In addition, it is much easier to work, when you have only one thing to do. It is much easier to get into flow-state: nothing diverts your attention. I believe that makes us happier, too.

Unfortunately, it does not make us better workers: if the job takes 5 days, fulfilling it in one night won’t make it the best. We often screw things up, or just do not work up to our own standards.

However strong effect on us have the adrenaline and Panic Monster, we are tired after adventures like that. Especially, if we do not follow simple rules of [AT1] recovery.

Anyway, keep in mind, that there is possibly one more reason why we like deadlines. Knowing that may sometime tip your conscious to not procrastinate something is more valuable than not knowing it.

P.S. if you know a research paper, which supports or denies the idea, please let me know.

1)      Ссылка на статью про авральный режим

2)      Поискать ещё среди своих статей что-нибудь на тему понятности цели и авралов

3)      Да, цель едина, она кристально чиста, как правило, это погружает в поток. Даже не то, что это очень важно.


 [AT1]В русском тексте ссылку на блог по авралу и питанию.

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A book: The Now Habit by Neil Fiore

clip_image002Now, let’s talk about the last book about procrastination, I’ve read to procrastinate other stuff 😉 Why the last? It seems to me, that I’ve seen the major ideas behind the topic. Now it’s the time to just reflect on them and tune my own life so that not to have to procrastinate anything.

What were we talking about… Ah! The book. Ok, Neil Fiore seems to be a big guy in the field, but, to be honest, the book was to me less appealing than the book of Peter Ludwig. I haven’t written about it in the blog, because the English version hasn’t come out yet (it’ll come out soon and you can subscribe to the news about it at the page linked above, though). Anyway, the reading got me some fresh ideas to think about, so it is worth looking into some of it.

The core idea as I got it is that the more discomfort you are anticipating from your job, the more active will be your evading of it and finding your salvation in something more pleasant. The more you feel that endless work deprive you from pleasure and amusements of life, the more active you will be your run from the work.

So, the author just tells you to make room for what is worth living for first, and then fill everything else with the “bad” work. And to put up with the latter, probably even trick yourself into liking it. That’s the spirit. I somehow approve, actually, but believe that working on what you really like may be even better. Why? Because some approaches, the author suggests don’t exactly work for me. Say, rewarding myself with something pleasant after doing something I procrastinate, make the reward even more attractive and the job itself even less so.

 However, there is a revolutionary (for me) thought in the book: procrastination isn’t a problem itself. It’s a manifestation of other problems. Their visible and palpable trace and consequence. One of the most problematic chain from the author’s point of view is something like: wanting an ideal result (THE ideal result!) -> fear of failure -> procrastination -> self-criticism -> anxiety and depression -> loss of confidence -> ever enlarging fear of failure -> PROCRASTINATION! It seems obvious now, in retrospective, but I swear, I somehow didn’t happen to word the thought so exact and clear.

That’s how perfectionism and feeling that everything in our life is important makes us not doing anything in time. And yes, I strongly believe that in everyone’s life not everything is ultimately important. And, the worst thing which happens if you fail fast is not this:

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No, this never happens because you’ve failed at something (I hope I’m not being read by any nuclear country’s president). Mostly, if you fail fast you recover fast and learn even faster. But isn’t it hard…

What even more important (for me, at least), is to understand, that not only fear of failure is the problem in some cases, but also fear of success. That kind of fear stopped me at least couple of times in my life. And probably, I postpone some things right now because the success will mean I will become someone else. And I will have to change. And nothing will be the same again. It’s scary as hell, but it’s, at the same time, exciting. And it’s being procrastinated, nevertheless.

The book, sure, offers some instruments, I like, and some approaches I’m not so sure, are worth to employ.

Say, “Unschedule”. The idea I’ve been using for a while, but in an ultimate form. I’ll describe it in more detail in some later blog, here I just say that the instrument will help you to stop thinking that you have 24 hours a day and, if you somehow need it, 48 hours a weekend. Such concepts are ultimate “procrastinagenes”, because no, you don’t have that much time. You’ll be surprised how little, comparing to those figures you really have for your work.

Another instrument – “Reverse calendar” – is to map al your activities from the finish to the beginning, so that you know when you have to start something to have at least some chances to finish in time. It’s also self-obvious, but the idea here is to map the same instrument to the bigger activities, projects, etc.

And sure enough, there wasn’t a chance to miss out Pomodoro techniques and other “power hours” which, after reading at least two or three books on personal productivity and anti-procrastination just become what you expect in a decent book 😉

What I’m not sure about are methods which, in general, just make you believe that your job is more pleasant than it is. Well, I’ve mastered the behavior myself, that’s normal when you don’t like what you don’t know how to do at the beginning, but later, when your proficiency at the stuff increases – you start loving it. But, as far as I understand, Neil Fiore suggests some tricks to like what you still don’t. Not sure, it’ll work every time, but probably it could at least mend some situations.

Anyway, if it’s not the 5th book on the topic you’ve read, I would rather recommend it, though my absolute favorite, as I already said, is the book of Peter Ludwig.

Usefulness: slightly above the average. But I had read some books on topic before it.

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Is it easy for reading? Sure.

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