What’s the sitch with how productive you become when there is something much more urgent that needs doing?
I often find myself in states of procrastination, i.e. "to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay," (Steel et al. 2007). I’m talking about OFTEN. Quite frequently.
BUT! When I have an urgent task looming that I’m avoiding, that is also when I’m at my MOST productive, as long as my energy is focused anywhere EXCEPT that primary objective atop my To-Do list. For example, I have huge tests looming for the classes I am enrolled in and paying tuition toward. Here is what I’ve accomplished instead:
I did laundry the other day faster than the limits of my laundry machine would allow... Don’t ask me how, I was procrastinating (1).
I studied for and aced a test... for undergraduate-level Comparative Medieval German Literature and Prose.
It only took me a six hours to find and assemble all of the necessary pieces into a working automobile... then I looked up and realized it was actually a horse. Again, it worked just fine.
I learned guitar, formed a band, went on tour, got huge, smashed my guitar in a fit of musical passion and crowd-inspired energy, no longer had the necessary equipment to play in the band, went home... and then I ate lunch. The implication being that whole sequence took place in one morning. I’m telling you, I have a BIG test coming up.
I won the World Series of Poker, then lost all the winnings... at the nickel slots. That would take months!! Unless you were slanging change into those machines like a man trying to avoid studying for a real test.
I wrote a new situation for www.whatsthesitch.com... and someone who I’m not related to by blood actually read it. That may be the most amazing one yet.
Now, a few of the above examples are a little bit exaggerated. But the point remains. If you want to get something done well and efficiently, take on a much more important task with a more pressing deadline.
(1) Was I washing my clothes by hand? Perhaps I took off the restrictor plate on my laundry machine before doing the load? Or maybe I ran my laundry to a friend’s house who has a more powerful washer-dryer? Most likely, I just wanted to start including more footnotes.