Work as Procrastination

We can define all kinds of things as procrastination: Surfing the web, walking the dog, doing the dishes. How about work?

Seldom do we see work as procrastination. But isn’t work often a form of procrastination, preventing us from doing what we actually should be doing?

A few things come to mind, in escalating order:

  1. Getting to inbox zero instead of working on project X.
  2. Working on project X instead of working on the much more important project Y.
  3. Working on project Y instead of solving a long-standing conflict with a co-worker.
  4. Solving that conflict instead of taking over the groundbreaking project Z in the other department.
  5. Taking over project Z instead of quitting your job and living the life you secretly wished for during the last 20 years.

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(See also: Procrastinate on Tasks, Not on Your Life. The post image shows my friend Lourenço, who gets this stuff just right.)

Comments 2

  1. Margaret Pinard August 27, 2016

    This is exactly right! Let’s not get too carried away and say that we’re procrastinating dying by living, though, eh?

    • Fabian August 28, 2016

      Ultimately, that’s where this is leading to: Even when you quit your job to do what’s idealized as “your thing”, you will still be procrastinating on other things. But isn’t it interesting how we’re both blind to this conclusion (hence even recognizing procrastination as a valid and useful concept to analyze) and how we rate the experience very differently by obscure standards (hence battling against certain forms of procrastination, but embracing others)?

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