Monday, January 26, 2009

Pretty Good Day

It was a pretty good day today. Lots to do, but I worked my way through it and eventually made some progress. Felt good when I left work today...lots of things behind me, email cleaned out. Pushed myself through some projects. The kind of day I need more of.

Of course, that's all about me.

The Economist has an interesting
article on procrastination. It says that one of the reasons people procrastinate is that when they are forced to think in the abstract.

As the team report in Psychological Science, in all three studies, those who were presented with concrete tasks and information responded more promptly than did those who were asked to think in an abstract way. Moreover, almost all the students who had been prompted to think in concrete terms completed their tasks by the deadline while up to 56% of students asked to think in abstract terms failed to respond at all.

This is something that David Allen talks about a lot. The reason we often don't do a task is that we don't know what we are supposed to do first. We don't have it boiled down to a specific enough "next action." I would argue that ambiguity rather than abstraction is at the heart of the answer to this question.

At any rate, it is nice to see something besides the usual fear, perfectionism, discomfort occupying this debate.

Each of the tasks I had postponed to day--each for far too long--had been because I didn't know what the next step was. Once I exposed that first step, the rest of the work flowed right along.

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