The many faces of Procrastination

Posted: February 18, 2011 in procrastination, time management

It’s half an hour off noon and I’m only just picking up my pen. I wish I could say it was a great night and I don’t regret it. But i had a quiet night in and I didn’t drink too much, and I still have nothing to show for this morning.

Yesterday I started earlier, 9am, and at least got some pages, scrappy and incoherent though they be. Wednesday morning I read a philosophy paper and formulated a couple of questions. Tuesday I went through some notebooks from 2003 with an idea for a memoir. Monday i went to a class, and didn’t, though I intended to, get back to work.

I desperately admire writers who claim to keep regular office hours. (I was just reading about one such in the toilet, Saturday Guardian Review.) That is my aim too, but it doesn’t seem to materialise. They say those who fail to plan, plan to fail, but planning for me is just another form of procrastination.

If I look from the beginning of the month: one week spent preparing a book for a competition; one week sorting out my paperwork – and I’m only halfway through; and this week, detailed above. The wek of editing and formatting was probably time well spent and, though tedious, moved me forward to my goal. The week of sorting paper was arguably necessary, but how can it take a week to half sort out the paper mountain?

The danger, of course, is that half-sorted is the worst of both worlds. If I don’t finish the sorting, I will just slide back into chaos, with my new systematic piles toppling onto the archaeological layers of the old mess, resulting in serendipitous layers of organisation uncovered like exotic sandwich filling in the next big sort-out.

So how do other writers do it? When you get rich, I suppose you can have secretaries, PAs, and cleaners to move your mess for you. But most writers aren’t rich and have to rely on their own resources.

My aim, in reanimating this blog is to publicly shame myself into getting something done. I will report on my efforts here, even if only to say: wasted day. If i clock up enough wasted days perhaps I’ll start to shape up. Watch this space.

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