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.