A fate worse than procrastination

I sometimes don’t accomplish the things I intend to accomplish in a timely manner. Standing on the outside, I can see how it might appear that I am an inveterate procrastinator. But procrastinators are often seeking fun diversions to keep themselves from doing the serious, un-fun work at hand. That’s just not me.

I rarely take more than a 20 minute lunch break. I often forget to take breaks at all. I usually get to work around 7:30am and leave around 5pm. I have had very few days when my serious, important work felt un-fun. I enjoy working. I like being productive and getting things done.

So what’s the problem?

It isn’t procrastination. It isn’t fun-seeking distraction. I am trying to accomplish too much in one day. I start my day with unrealistic expectations of how much I can accomplish and occasionally bruise myself trying.

The problem isn’t doing too little. My problem is attempting to do too much.

In the spirit of my Stop Doing list, I am (for the moment) no longer using the to-do list productivity app on my iPad. Using it, I feel like I am drowning in my list of things to do.

Instead, each morning I jot down the items on my iPad list that need the day’s attention. By “jot down”, I mean on actual paper. **gasp** Beside each task I estimate how much time the activity should take. And then I number the tasks in order of need and get to work. So far, so good.

Epiphany #1: I am not really good at estimating how much time something is going to take.

Epiphany #2: You only get points for not being a procrastinator if you are actually accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if the problem is too little effort or too much. The end result is the same.

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