Procrastination comes in many guises and with my approaching deadline, that is defying all previously understood linear timeframes, it has become my nemesis. To combat this productivity vacuum I have employed certain tactics; like banning myself from the internet for most of the day, switching off my email and silencing my phone. I am finding the amount of work that I hope to complete by the year’s end rather overwhelming. I have been known to freeze like a deer in headlights in similar situations and so to avoid being run down by my overly zealous research plan I am a huge advocate of ‘the list’. If I have everything written down, I know exactly how to prioritize and stay on track. While this seemed like a sound plan I’ve discovered that my lists are becoming more elaborate, more detailed and need constant updating…….I’m procrastinating by writing lists!!!
And what is worse I appear to be procrastinating by writing a blog post about my new-found procrastination tool: the list. It was a heartbreaking truth to discover. I’ve always loved ‘the list’. I am notoriously absent-minded, especially when stressed. I realised just how bad I was getting one morning when I ran through ‘the list’ of things to remember before leaving the house: Do you have your keys? Do you have your wallet? Are you wearing pants? I’m not sure whether this shows my reliance on ‘the list’, in the same way my dad can no longer find his way out of the driveway without using the GPS, or whether I do really have a problem with focus . But I digress.
Lists are an amazing way to make sure you have everything (which for me is usually at least 100 things) in order, but they also instill such an enormous sense of satisfaction when you get to tick something off. And perhaps this is, in part, why my lists are getting more elaborate. I need to feel I’m moving forward, so rather than having “write literature review” as an item, I split up the item into more manageable chunks so that every day I get to cross one or two things off ‘the list’. But where the list gives, it also takes away. I have been known to have far too many things on my list, and as a result I constantly feel behind. A friend once told me to cut my lists in half, as I was simply setting my self up to feel inadequate. This is sound advice.
And to this sound advice I should also like to add: don’t let the process of writing lists let you avoid actually doing the tasks that are on your list; like putting pants on before leaving the house. Now if you will excuse me I get to cross “write blog post about lists of lists” from my list of things to do today. Oh yeah, I’m on a productivity high this morning.