On Procrastination, Revisited

27th May, 2019 in Books

I have already written a post on procrastination, but it got a bit harder lately. I do have trouble getting myself to commit to professional tasks, instead of which I involve myself in various activities one would barely consider procrastination, since their results are impressive and visible to far wider spectrum of people than whatever task in my work pipeline I complete. Don't get me wrong, I am on top of my phabricator (project management and task management environment developed by facebook,) tasks and do get good feedback, but the secondary backlog of our department remains untouched. I just don't jump at tasks for the sole purpose of making money, which most consider to be the sole purpose of work.

And so, over the time there was nothing of CRITICAL priority, I mainly worked on my personal brand. My cartes de visit now match visual design of this website, which I also improved to the point I am almost becoming proud of it. When this was done, I went on to redesign the administration front-end.I do almost nothing aside from sitting at my table clutted with objects fairly uncommon. On top of an old wardrobe that is to be removed and sent away to form fill of IKEA furniture and OSB boards, there is a drill waiting to drill six holes into my walls to secure a newly built rack and fix a standalone hanger rail. And I am also supposed to attend driving school, where I don't really feel like going, since my instructor is not the sharpest pencil in the box and keeps nagging about things I don't feel I should worry about at this point. The question is, how much will these things improve my life? Are they worth my time? Exactly because my natural habitat is the desk, things I use on a regular basis are at hand this way. The holes in the wall would be great, but I need someone to hold the hoover for me, and I care for their wellbeing as well. And I don't really intend buying a vehicle anytime soon since our mediocre public transport is less harmful to the environment and safer while reading a book.

And so, I changed the way of assessing these tradeoffs. Instead of pushing my reputation of hyper-efficiency and enormous speed, I do the selfish thing a quasi-orthodox econometrician would. Construct the omnivariate function of return on time investment expressed in terms of arbitrary unit of utility and maximize it. Of course, such function has peculiar properties such as that the partial derivative with respect to hours worked is not continuous, because there is a threshold input vaule, anything below which results in you getting complemented in the best-case scenario conditioned by hourly-wage contract. Worst case? Getting fired! And nobody wants that. And I am thankfully far from that threshold.

We are not going to construct any particular function here, even though it would be a wonderful thesis topic. Because I am a drop-out, remember? But you should be aware of existence of this concept and considering how it applies to you. What productive things make you happy? Would you rather have a take at becoming a self-sufficient twitch streamer than washing dishes? Abandoning your successful academic career to be a youtuber just like Derek Muller made up a chemical element named Veritasium? Does having the CFO abbreviation on your business card outweight the utility of driving a bus like you dreamed of as an eightyearold?

These examples come from real people. Think about it. Do, create, conjure, and summon whatever you consider the most satisfying for you and you only. And stop calling it productive procrastination.And non-productive procrastination? Make use of it and turn it into something that will make you proud. Do you watch netflix shows eight hours a day? Do whatever you can to become a movie critic! Browse too many memes? Create instagram account with the best ones! Whatever!

Procrastination is a myth.

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