Friday, April 4, 2008


Lately I’ve had a small problem with procrastination. Well, to be honest, I have a big problem with procrastination, and it’s bringing me down. Checking my email and reading blogs and internet message boards are my big downfall. But a couple of online games and comic strips should also be included on the list of things that prevent me from getting my work done. In effort to combat this lack of productivity, I turned to the internets for tips on curing procrastination (cause using Google to learn about issues in my life is a productive waste of time, don’t ya know), and I found an entry on Wikipedia on procrastination. This is what it says: “Procrastination is a type of behavior which is characterized by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. Psychologists often cite procrastination as a mechanism for coping with anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.” Wow, that really hit home. Especially the part about anxiety. You see, the tasks I’ve been I have been putting off are all work related. Specifically, I need to submit two articles for publication. And I am anxious about putting myself out there. I don’t want my scientific work, that I’ve put heart and soul into for the last many number of years, to be criticized and one way to avoid criticism is to keep it to myself. Of course, if I don’t publish, then my career comes to a screeching halt. And the thought of failing at my chosen profession brings its own anxiety with it. So, I procrastinate. Wiki goes on to say: “For the person procrastinating this may result in stress, a sense of guilt, the loss of personal productivity, the creation of crisis and the disapproval of others for not fulfilling one's responsibilities or commitments. While it is normal for individuals to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning.” Yep. Right again. And the cycle goes on and on and on. Anxiety and stress making me unproductive because my lack of productivity makes me anxious and stressed. So, how do I break the cycle? I can’t just turn off my computer because I need it to do my job. Fortunately, Wiki has some information on that too (don’t you just love Wiki? Its a great way to kill a couple of hours and learn something at the same time). Specifically, there is a link to a collection of podcasts on overcoming procrastination, and other links to articles and tutorials on overcoming procrastination and academic success, and even a tutorial to overcome procrastination. Wikipedia even has a Wikibook on Overcoming Procrastination. Wow, I could really spend a lot of time procrastinating while reading/learning about procrastination. However, as helpful as these resources may be, I'm not sure these articles would really get to the proximal cause of my procrastination - the fear associated with being criticized by my peers. I think the only real way to just do it. Screw my courage to the sticking place. Develop a hard outer shell. Take a breath and jump into the volcano. Fortunately, Wiki has suggestions for doing just that.

1 comment:

Benny Greenberg said...

There are many ways to eliminate procrastination. One of the things I often tell the people I work with is to do that ONE thing on your to-do list that you really DO NOT want to do FIRST! Get that "bad stuff" out of the way early in the day - and the rest of the day will be awesome. As well - I see you mention fear - do not fear - have faith. Have faith in your work and in you. You see faith and fear can not occupy the same space. One eliminates the other. So the more faith you have in yourself and in your work - the less fear there is- until it is ultimately eliminated!

I recently did a few blog-posts on Procrastination - they may help - you can check it out here:

But I would really work on the faith aspect. You are great - you are the best - and your work is incredible!