Procrastination is perhaps my most serious character flaw. When I see that something isn’t really important, I tend not to do it right away.
People who know me might say otherwise, though. What they are seeing is actually me doing workarounds for my flaw:
They see me finish something way ahead of time.
Usual scenario: I get office mail to do something as trivial as update an Excel file or send the total page count of your work in progress. Deadline is end of the week.
I finish the task 10 minutes later.
Reason why I didn’t procrastinate: It was a trivial task. As long as I am not “in the zone” coding, I probably have a couple of minutes to spare doing trivial tasks. Besides, the mere fact that I have my mail client open means that I’m not too occupied at the moment.
They see me finish something not trivial way ahead of time.
Usual scenario: same as above, but the task will take more than 2 hours to finish.
I’ll finish the task 3 hours after receiving the mail.
Reason why I didn’t procrastinate: It was probably a mechanical task and I want to procrastinate on my “thinking” tasks. Usually these tasks are similar to the stuff I mentioned in the previous example, but in a larger scale. I get to turn off my brain and I get paid to do it. Everybody wins! (err.. sort of)
They see me finish something that requires thinking way ahead of time.
Ok, so the task doesn’t fall under the two scenarios above. What’s my excuse now?
Actually there are a couple of possibilities:
- I try to fool myself.
Remember the mantra in my first post? Putting things in different perspectives is an effective way of applying that mantra.
Don’t want to fail Calculus? Put your mind into aiming for an A+. If you win, you get an A+. If you don’t, you might get depression but I doubt you’ll get an F or even a C.
Same thing with tasks. Deadline is next week? I could either personally shorten the deadline to this week (this is a bad thing, I’ll explain in a later post) or I could fool myself that it’s a lot more important than my other tasks so I’ll prioritize it.
- I’m a competitive guy.
Similar to fooling myself, but I decided that this deserves a bullet point of its own.
For some odd reason, I don’t like to lose to other people. So if there’s a task that requires thinking, nothing riles me up more than the thought of competing with my colleagues — even though there’s no really no competition involved in the task itself.
Actually there is something that riles me up more: the thought of competing with cute female colleagues who are a lot more skillful and smarter than me. Go ahead, call me chauvinist if you want, but this M.O. singlehandedly allowed a guy who graduated with no honors in HS to graduate with Latin honors in college (my HS was an all-boys school… you get the picture).
- I’m bored.
Yup, you read that right. Sometimes I procrastinate on all my tasks and I end up doing nothing.
Doing nothing = boredom.
Bry + Boredom = unexpected results.
Finishing tasks way ahead of time ∈ unexpected stuff that happens when Bry is bored.