A “Little” Bit of Procrastination

Finally, I manage to find the time to update my blog. Ok, I don’t want to lie in my blog. The truth is, I have run out of excuses to postpone the update on my blog. And, what better way to celebrate my running out of excuses, than by making a bit of fun of myself and my excuses. Here goes…

Procrastination as an art form has always fascinated me. I admit it, I am a procrastinator. But, I also have a very sensitive conscience. Therefore I have to approach this procrastination with utmost caution so that I don’t hurt my conscience a great deal.

The most common excuse I tend to use for procrastination is

“I don’t have time”

My conscience leaps in to push me into guilty mode. “This is clearly a lame excuse. Its been months since my last post. Do you mean to say that you could not spare a few hours in the past few months to update your blog? You have had time to watch Friends episodes over and over again, play the stupid video games over and over again, yet you could not update your blog over the past few months? How lame can an excuse get?”
“Oh you have no idea how lame the excuses can get”, I tell my conscience.

This “I don’t have time” excuse has been used by me so often. But there are rare occasions when this does not work. A classic case is when certain academic peers cum Pretty Young Things (PYTs) ask me for academic favours (ahem). However, this excuse works very well when uninteresting half bald, male academic peers ask me for academic favours (ahem ahem).

Another excuse, widely used by me to stifle my conscience into submission is

“I have this more important thing to do”

This might seem like a productive excuse, since I seem to be replacing my current task with another more important task. But, it is not so simple. It would have been a productive excuse if the task leaps stopped there. Unfortunately it does not. The next task leap comes in the form of a different reason. “This task is taking too much time. I have this equally important task that can be completed in lesser time”. The leaps of logic do not end there. The next leap comes in the form of, “I can do this task better if I do this other prerequisite task”. The next leap can just as well be, “I can do this task better if I just refresh myself a bit with this more enjoyable thing”. Before you know it, one leap leads to another and finally I end up a mile away from the actual task at hand.

There is a beautiful real life example of this. I had just started working on a term paper (or something to that effect), and I started by opening these IEEE research papers. There are these damn sponsored links on the side of some of these technical web pages. They start with harmless looking academic links to various universities. It then moves on to a combination of technical and commercial pages. One link leads to another and before I know it, there are a dozen tabs open in my firefox browser. On one side is the IEEE Xplore tab with a research paper. On the other side is a tab with sexually explicit content! (yes I am very reluctant to include that 4 letter word in my blog).

Before I wind up this excuse bashing session of mine, let’s take a look at one more excuse.

“Maybe I will do it a little later”

This is one of the most dangerous excuses. Its danger lies in its apparent harmless appeal to postpone the task at hand for a few moments. The key ingredient in this recipe for disaster is the word “little”. Ambiguity is what sounds the death knell for that strong will against procrastination. How much is “little”? It amazing how a little thing can grow big. To elaborate and illustrate,

It starts with a sip,
ends with a fall and a slip.

It starts with a whiff,
and before you know it, the smoke is going puff puff puff.

It starts with a kiss,
and soon, she is called mrs instead of miss.

It starts off well (like this blog post),
but before long,
I have no idea what went wrong.

Whew… I bet the souls of a hundred poets rejoiced when I ended the above poem.

Getting back to the point I was making, we never know, when this “little later” comes. The ambiguity, the lack of a deadline, the lack of proper specifications let people like me take undue advantage of the word “little”.

There is an urgent need for me to overcome this chronic procrastination. The habit of procrastination should be nipped in the bud. A firm line has to be drawn. An iron will has to be developed that should enable me to put my foot down and say a firm NO when procrastination beckons seductively. I can and I will.
But, maybe I will do it a “little” later…….

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1 thought on “A “Little” Bit of Procrastination”

  1. I know this syndrome from close quarters… There was a period when my blog was unattended to, and I was stuck in the nearly-infinite-loop of reasons!

    And as I write this, I have already kept a 'little' OS paper for later, and a 'little' C++ program for later… I've been rummaging through your blog for the past one hour! I suppose my 'little' should end here! Nuts! Blame the blog for it! (Easing my conscience, see?)

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