George V. Reilly



Aaron Swartz has a moderately in­ter­est­ing piece on pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

We all pro­cras­ti­nate. I certainly pro­cras­ti­nate.

Sometimes my pro­cras­ti­na­tion is tantamount to making sure that my pencils are very, very sharp. More often, I find myself surfing the web, free as­so­ci­at­ing off in random directions. There’s no end to the fas­ci­nat­ing dis­trac­tions.

In lesser cases, I pro­cras­ti­nate because I’m bored or not fully engaged in what I’m doing.

When I have a more severe case, I think fear is the root cause. I don’t really know how to proceed, I don’t really understand what it is that I’m supposed to be doing, and I don’t really want to come to grips with it. And so I don’t. My fear of the pain dissuades me.

When I finally do get over the hump, quite often, I’ll find myself engaged in the problem and have difficulty tearing myself away. I develop a sense of ac­com­plish­ment about the problem. At best, I find myself in a state of flow.

The key to my getting started seems to be to find some small, manageable piece that I can accomplish. The momentum gets me on to the next piece and then the next.

Easier said than done, alas.

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