Home / 10 Ways I Deal With My Own Procrastination - Altucher Confidential  

So I read something this morning that made my inner creative writer scream "YES" while trying not to spill my coffee or think about this daunting assay that's calling my name. I'm not going to re-write what the blog post says, but I can closely relate to some of his 10 points...mainly following up on emails from 6 months ago, for the sake of being in the right frame of mind to actually answer them professionally. My closest friends know that if they need to reach me, they just keep bombarding me with notes until I eventually cave in (but not during emergencies of course, those take priority!)

In addition to needing to have several projects handy (as well as the most god-forsaken book that I adore but never have more than 2 hours at a time to sit down and read) - play, experimentation, and distractions are so key. Challenge yourself. Don't be stuck in a rut. Take that art class that you've always wanted to try, even if your silk-painted scarf looks like the cat threw up on it.

K.P.S.S. Keep projects simple, stupid. If something drives you crazy, walk away. Only you can decide for how long, but it will always be there if you choose to go back to whatever project it may be. Always have a Plan B in place. Plan A's generally almost never work out. 

And for god's sake, don't forget the coffee.

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If you ever feel like you are procrastinating, then just go down the list and do the tiniest thing you can do for each item on the list.

I can see how this would work for some, but it doesn't for me. I'm more of an "eat your liver and vegetables before your dessert" kind of guy (or "eat the bad-tasting Jelly Bellys and save the good ones until last"). Unless priorities compel otherwise, I always start with the big/hard stuff and leave the little/easy stuff for the end. Just getting it out of the way makes me feel less overwhelmed.

Whenever I’ve been deeply unhappy in my life, I play games. I play games ALL DAY.

I can't fathom doing this but it's probably because I lack imagination. IMO, the most important resource in life is time. There are plenty of reasons one can be deeply unhappy but I've never been able to see how ignoring your unhappiness (e.g., distracting one's thoughts with games, attempting to escape from reality) helps resolve the root of unhappiness. It's as if you're trying to fake happiness (something I've cautioned my daughter never to do). I agree with him that some games can be good for you and improve your brain functions; I just wouldn't use them to distract me from problems making me unhappy.

The word of the month for me seems to be “experiment.”

I have mixed feelings about experimenting. On the one hand, it's effectively how I learned to program and how I often code. On the other, I'm a planner and my preference is always to plan things, thinking through it all. There are some parts of my work where experimenting is appropriate, but I prefer planning thoroughly.

Smaller Is Better

Although I think it's appropriate to break large problems down, I've never been a fan of the smaller is better mantra. I prefer Daniel Burnham's quote: "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work..."

Start In the Middle

I can't see why this would be beneficial. I prefer to start with priorities.

"For instance, if you are a programmer, end right in the middle of an “IF” statement before putting in the “THEN” part."

Uh, no. I'm a programmer and it's silly to do this (not to mention that, depending on where you do this or in what language, the code might then not even execute).

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