Tag Archives: procrastination

After Procrastination, Self-Forgiveness Limits Further Procrastination

In a short article summarising six “surprising insights from the social sciences” we are told how those in powerful positions show little restraint when presented with food and are informed that the perceived “attractiveness advantage” of more sociable people is there simply because they groom themselves better.

However I feel that the only constructive insight is to be found from the short look at how we can stop procrastinating by forgiving ourselves for previous transgressions (the lack of guilt limits any further procrastination):

Recent research has suggested that forgiveness is good for your health. But it may also be good for your study habits. Students who procrastinated in studying for an exam — but forgave themselves for doing so — procrastinated less and got a higher grade on a subsequent exam. One might normally expect such a self-forgiving student to keep on procrastinating. However, self-forgiveness mitigated the guilt and rumination — and desire to procrastinate further to avoid these negative feelings — that resulted from the initial bout of procrastination, making it easier to study for the next exam.

Procrastination as Newton’s First Law

There’s a lot I identify with in this article of Joel Spolsky’s where he talks of using the Fire and Motion strategy to cope with workplace procrastination.

There have been times in my career as a developer when I went for weeks at a time without being able to get anything done. As they say, I’m not in flow. I’m not in the zone. I’m not anywhere. […]

Once you get into flow it’s not too hard to keep going. Many of my days go like this: (1) get into work (2) check email, read the web, etc. (3) decide that I might as well have lunch before getting to work (4) get back from lunch (5) check email, read the web, etc. (6) finally decide that I’ve got to get started (7) check email, read the web, etc. (8) decide again that I really have to get started (9) launch the damn editor and (10) write code nonstop until I don’t realize that it’s already 7:30 pm.

Somewhere between step 8 and step 9 there seems to be a bug, because I can’t always make it across that chasm. For me, just getting started is the only hard thing. An object at rest tends to remain at rest. There’s something incredible heavy in my brain that is extremely hard to get up to speed, but once it’s rolling at full speed, it takes no effort to keep it going. […]

Maybe this is the key to productivity: just getting started. Maybe when pair programming works it works because when you schedule a pair programming session with your buddy, you force each other to get started.

I feel that the text in bold is key.

via Less Wrong