Procrastination and the Groove
November 11, 2014
My current method of procrastination
I work better on a deadline. My entire time in grad school, I would have to write these massive papers and would spend weeks procrastinating about writing them. Up until the last minute, when I would suddenly fall into a groove because I had no choice and then stuff would get done. It wasn't great stuff that would get done, but it was better than the weeks of no stuff.
Look, this story isn't new. This is, like, the way people operate. We're motivated by pleasure and fear. The pleasure of not doing work moves us along until the fear of failure gets so large that it takes over.
It's just a good thing I know how to control that fear when I need to. I mean, for a lot of people, the fear is never large enough to overtake the pleasure, and then things just don't get done, which isn't good for anyone.
But I'm a control freak, and when I make a plan, some primal piece of me needs to stick to it at all costs. I just need to tell myself that a certain thing needs to get done by a certain time, and that's enough to get it done.
It's a good system that has served me well over the years. Recently, I committed to myself to write an update for my Kickstarter campaign every Sunday, and, outside of a couple edge cases, that is what happened every week. It felt good, and I think a lot of other people really enjoyed the consistency as well. It inspired confidence that I had my shit together. I've recently scaled that back to every other Sunday now that the graphic design is done, but it is still a consistent commitment, and it will still get done.
Anyway, the point is that I've finished grad school. The part of my life where I get up and go to work in a lab for many hours every day is done (for now at least), and in it's place is, well, sort of a controlled chaos at the moment. I'm working on getting Forge War out the door and all the other stuff needed for that Kickstarter project. But I'm also working on developing new games and trying to build a business. Some of that is working, and some of that is falling through the cracks.
Like this blog, for instance. Almost every day I think about writing something, but somehow it just never happens. And the solution is simple - I just need to commit to write every week. I have so much stuff I want to talk about, but when I don't police myself, I just get incredibly lazy, and my thoughts go unwritten.
Right, okay, so a post every Tuesday. Tuesday seems like a good day. I mean, it's convenient because that's what today is, but still, it's a good day to sit down and write a thousand words, I think. Sure.
So what else needs to get done? I've got this game I'm working on at the moment that just requires me to create content for it, so I got a group of players together to meet every other week to run through scenarios for it. Every two weeks, I need to have at least 3 scenarios ready, as well as lots of other stuff, so that's good. That's a deadline that'll help me get stuff done.
I'm also trying to get revisions of another game out to play-testers every three weeks or so. That deadline is getting a little fuzzy, though, as it's dependent on the responses of the play-testers.
And countless other boring stuff. The conclusion here is that leaves are being turned. My wife tells me that a lot of people, when they start working from home, go through a chaotic period where they don't get done as much work as they wanted to, but then systems are devised and things get into a groove.
I'm giving myself deadlines, and great things are happening. I'll see you all back here next week.
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