Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Of Structured Procrastination

I was listening to an interesting radio programme the other morning. It was early in the morning, probably around 4a.m. so I wrestled with myself in terms of whether my need to sleep should trump my desire to stay awake and listen to what was on.
The programme was about John Perry who has just won the Ig Noble Prize for his article "How to Procrastinate and still get things done". The Ig Noble Prize honours scientific work that makes you laugh and think. It has some curious past winners including a man who for forty years has cracked the knuckles in his left hand (but not his right) to see if the common belief that such a habit brings on arthritis is correct.
"Structure procrastination" according to Perry is when you make a list and do everything but the one on the top - the one that really needs to be done. He posits that this keeps you busy doing other useful things as you go up the list. He argues that you'll finally do the one at the top when it's trumped by others even more important and falls from the top spot.
When the programme finished I still couldn't sleep. There was too much going on in my head including whether for all these years I have been a "structured procrastinator". I never did come to a conclusion. Did I fall asleep.... or maybe I just didn't get round to it?

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