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Friday
Mar252016

Procrastination - is there a cure?

Squirrel!
       Dug the Dog

If you're wondering why one might need this app [Stop Procrastinating] or apps like it, ask yourself the following questions: How often do you browse the web or use social media while in a meeting? How often do you use it on the toilet? Is getting on the internet the first and last thing you do everyday? Do you often lose track of conversations because you were distracted by the tiny screen in front of you? The Digital Reader, March 22, 2016

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau

This blog has been pretty quiet for the last couple weeks. Busy time at work, packing and moving a household, spring-like weather - pick your excuse. That's pretty much what they are - excuses - a list of things I want to/need to/must do instead of jotting down idle ramblings.

I have to admit, however, that continuous and ubiquitous Internet access has increasingly exacerbated my natural tendency to procrastinate. The e-mail/Facebook/Twitter/feedreader/Zinio/et al checks take great bites from not just my writing time, but my book reading time as well.

One reason that I have taken "writing weeks" in the past is that they allow me to simply focus on my book writing without distraction. I am beginning to think I need to block out "writing hours" each day as well.

Any suggestions on how to eliminate the "squirrel" quality of the Internet and actually get work accomplished?

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Reader Comments (6)

I just came across this TED talk on my Twitter feed. No answers but certainly encouragement to think about the time I spend online.

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Now ... I'm going to do what I set out to do this morning and connect with some family members!

March 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLynda Erlandson

I find I am not only losing focus when I'm looking at it, but losing focus in all aspects of life the more I'm on social media. The only solution I have found is to turn it off entirely for a while and reset. Unfortunately, now that I relented and got a smartphone about a year ago, it makes it harder to turn off.

March 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Mark

Doug,

I learned the Pomodoro Technique a few years ago to support finish my dissertation work. I have found the strategy to be very powerful yet simple to implement. While I can still get off track when using it in my professional work (I don't tell people who stop in my office that we can can't connect because I have to finish this Pomodoro), it is an excellent way to complete tasks in a manner that feels proactive and can be energizing.

Great post. Procrastination is something we all battle.

Matt

March 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Hillmann

I am beginning to formulate an idea that procrastination might not exist. If you complete a task according to the requirements and deadlines, does it matter how or when it is done? If a students stays up all night, but still turns in the assignment on time and complete, have they procrastinated?

Another example - when I read a book, I might underline, highlight, write in the margins, take notes, or something else. These are the activities I have developed that help be get the most out of reading. However, when someone else just skims through the book, are they a bad reader - or lazy - or what? If they can get information, use it appropriately, and then recall that later, does it matter that they did something different that me?

As a teacher I am more concerned whether a student understands and and apply the information I give them rather than if they followed the standard operating procedure.

Obviously there is a huge difference between not doing the work vs. doing the work on the student's time table.

I used to tell students that they only way they would be successful in high school and college was to use a calendar, write down all your assignments and due dates, and stick to that schedule. I am beginning to see that I might be forcing square pegs into round holes...

March 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKenn Gorman

Only a person can avoid procrastination if he/ she really wants to do that. A little bit of discipline and time management can do the magic.

Hi Susan,

I feel your pain. This is why I like to vacation in places where there IS no Internet!

Doug

Thanks, Lynda. I'll add it to my viewing queue!

Doug

Thanks, Matt. Never heard of the Pomodoro Technique. I look forward to learning more about it.

All the best,

Doug

Hi Kenn,

You make some great points. I do seem to always hit deadlines. Perhaps it is only a nagging fear that procrastination is keeping me from doing more. Maybe it would be good to just learn to relax!

Doug

March 29, 2016 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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