The Efficiency Of Procrastination

Today is a Monday, both literally and figuratively.  I left on Friday with something on my work plate and a clear plan as to what was needed when I came back in today.  Nothing went as planned.

The project I was working on was a final push on a task that had been dragging out for months and months.  It was an integration with another company. The dev on the other side and I were really dragging our feet on it.  But management was having no more of that, so we both got told to make it happen in a week.  I knew I didn’t have much to do in this, so I agreed right away.  That’s when I made my plan of what I needed to do.

I arrived this morning and got to work.  Preparing to do my initial smoke test, I fumbled around, because I hadn’t looked at the code in well over a month and wasn’t sure what steps needed performed for a successful service call.  After half an hour of research, I figured it out.  That is, I figured out it wasn’t complete.  In fact, it was fairly incomplete.  All the testing I’d done up to that point was manually faked.

So, I did what I normally do when I’m put up against the wall – I made a list of what must be done.  The list was short, but wasn’t pretty.  I had to get other people involved with some steps, so my “oversight” might be noticed.  And some was just some tedious coding.

Then, I wasted no time and got to work.  Within an hour, I had everything done that I could get done and now had to wait on someone else to do something for me.  And as I wait, I write this entry… (this isn’t procrastinating, btw)

I read a quote recently that was something like, “Procrastinators can make a 15 minute task last 8 hours and can do 8 hours of work in 15 minutes.”  Precisely.  I just did it.  Why didn’t I do it earlier?  It might have been the feeling that came over me today when I realized I wasn’t done.  Before I made the bullet list of work to do, I started thinking of what needed done and started second-guessing myself, wondering if that was really the best course of action.

It’s a problem I face regularly.  When you know so many different ways to accomplish something, you can have trouble choosing which one to do.  Everything has pros and cons, so you can talk yourself into (or out of) any choice you make.  So you enter what is termed analysis paralysis.  And you procrastinate, because if you make no decision, you haven’t made the wrong decision.

But, when it comes down to the wire, you have to make a choice and run with it.  And usually, you will find it is a workable solution.  If anything is horribly wrong with it, you can fix it then.

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