Is it because we do most of our work on computers, and those computers are invariably connected to the Great Time Suck (aka Internet)? Is it because our work requires self-motivation, and unless we're under tight deadlines (and sometimes even if we are), nobody's pushing us to achieve except ourselves? Is it because it's just plain hard to think until we've finished every other thing on our to-do lists and made our blog-surfing, status-updating, headline-skimming rounds?
Is it all of the above?
Definitely. At least that's my take on it.
I'm reading a good book right now called Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch, and the main character at one point lists "the secrets of anticrastination." It's funny. It's sarcastic. It's part of author Richard Hine's satirical, hysterical take on the uselessness of corporate culture. But it also makes great sense. And I, for one, could stand to follow these points on a regular basis. Here they are, quoted verbatim from the book (exclamation points and all):
- List your Works in Progress (WIPs). Now prioritize them!!
- Complete your WIPs. Set yourself a deadline and don't start new projects till your current WIPs are finished!!
- Reward yourself. Do something fun to celebrate the completion of each project before moving on to the next!!
For example, for me, right now, my highest-priority WIP would be to Revise my novel!! Instead, I'm blogging. A waste of time? No. A means of procrastination? Yes.
I think the anticrastination list can actually help me. It's too late for tonight, but over the next few days, I'm going to try setting page and chapter "deadlines" to help me through revisions. I'll see how it works to start my writing-editing time with actual writing and editing, then reward myself afterward with surfing-tweeting-blogging-reading time. I don't know if I'm strong enough to make it work, but I'll let you know how it goes.
So thanks, Richard Hine-a-la-Russell Wiley. I needed that.
Photo courtesy Grahambones