Sunday, April 20, 2008

Don't listen to Yoda!

Don't do. Try. That way, you enter with failure as a likely outcome, allowing procrastination to take full force. You can then feel guilty about not giving it your best effort, and take solace in that while you failed, at least you didn't give it your best effort.

Don't prime the pump! Make sure to leave work with your task completely finished. That way you have to start the day by figuring out what to do next, and how to start it. Figuring out what to do next is an excellent excuse to procrastinate. Further, getting started is much easier when you're flush with success after finishing something. Starting something at that point might get your work to flow, which would significantly cut into procrastination. On the other hand, getting started both on the process of working, and on a new task, at the same time is quite overwhelming and fertile ground for procrastination.

Don't reward yourself until it's perfect. Rewarding your efforts early might reinforce the habits of starting on projects and getting outlines done. Give yourself rewards before doing work instead of after; that way you can get the reward, and then procrastinate as usual.

Don't ask for help until you're desperate. Ideally, get rescued, not helped. By not asking for help early, you can procrastinate while "trying to figure out how to do it". When you ask for help late, there's typically so little time left that the only way to help you is to take ownership of the problem. This reinforces a useful feeling of helplessness.

Don't account for eating, sleeping, recreation, health activities, commuting, social demands, shopping, errands, or any of the other things you have to do to survive. Always be unrealistic about your schedule. This way, you can make it impossible to work as many hours as you "should", making your goal unreachable and promoting procrastination. You can also punish yourself for your failure, which will lower your self esteem.

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