Tuesday, August 8
Procrastination has been a major theme around here. I could spend some time adding links to the relevant entries, but seriously, pick a post at random and chances are good that procrastination is part of the theme (if not the entry then the comments).

And while it has been helpful to hear that other people face this issue as well, it was especially helpful to read this about a method that may actually help you/me/us get over it. Yes, I'm seriously inspired and plan to implement this method. I don't think I'll go as far as to write the check out to an organization I hate, just because I am hopeful that I won't need that kind of added pressure. However, the general idea sounds very promising. And seriously, it all requires less than an hour a day for some tangible productivity. Sign me up! And as an added incentive for implementing the method, I promise to report back to you on how it goes. (I mean that as added incentive for me, not for you per se, but feel free to join me in promising that you'll have something to report on in a week or two.)

7 comments:

Chartreuse Circe said...

Wait, you want me to do something about the procrastination? Noooooo.

Actually, this (his suggestion) is samething that my therapist has mentioned more than once. I tend to just put it off.

Clear said...

I don't have the discipline to do the contingent reward thing. I just give myself the reward now, which I presume is linked to why I procrastinate in the first place. I suspect it's like a lot of treatments for depression, where effective treatments are much easier to devise for those with only a mild version of the problem.

Turquoise Stuff said...

I don't think it works for all types of procrastination, but I think it may work well for some. I doubt it will get me to write any of my referee reports. However, I think it will get me to write about my own work. That is exciting! After all, it's one of the supposedly main things we do as academics, RESEARCH, but more often than not it gets sent to the dustbin in favor of other more immediate tasks such as reviewing.

That said, the original enthusiastic recommender of all this is a grad student who likely doesn't yet have that much refereeing and student advising to do so the starting point is different. (No, I'm not suggesting grad students have nothing on their plate so they shouldn't have problems. I'm just saying it's different. And yes, it gets worse.)

Michelle said...

Let me support the book from whence this recommendation comes: Robert Boice's "Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing." This book can take away your guilt and give you results. I enjoy writing now much more consistently than I ever have.

wisteria said...

Thanks for the advice, TS - at least it's something "hands-on", or at least it gives that impression (of course I've put off actually getting the book to some time later this week). Reminds me of a helpful book I I used to swear on back in dissertation hell: "Writing your dissertation in 15 minutes a day". First you think it's a marketing gag. But then the author holds that mirror up to you and asks you: If you think that 15 minutes are not that much, how many minutes have you written today?

Jim Gibbon said...

Hey TS, thanks for writing this up. I hope you've had some success with it.

Clear: My case is definitely not minor; this is why I was so enthusiastic about the method. The results have blown me away.

I think if you're skeptical about this method and worried about cheating, you should start writing those checks and involve someone else in the system. I doubt you'll part with too much money.

Wisteria: I've found the 15 minutes book to be helpful, too, especially the "Writing in" idea.

Turquoise Stuff said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jim.

I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't started yet. I'm posting about it to out myself and add extra pressure. I definitely do sit at my computer and write for at least an hour each day, just not write for publication. And that's the idea here, I think.

I never did get that 15 min/day book. I mean, I didn't buy it or look at it. For some reason I was averse to it. I figured that if I was meant to be in academia, I should be able to finish the darn dissertation on my own. I'm not sure why I felt that way, I can't say I necessarily agree with that idea now, but that was my approach and I stuck to it. Luckily I also finished the writing so in the end it worked out fine.

But that was back when I was a grad student with far fewer obligations. I know, I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true: it gets worse.

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