Procrastination Productivity

Why is it hard to write if you’re an academic? Or anyone, really. (I mean, look at all the languishing blogs with good intentions out there!) Rachel Toor writes in the The Chronicle about what she describes as “procrastination productivity”:

I tackle the things I think I can handle, do them, get a vague sense of accomplishment, and then go back to feeling crappy about what I’m not doing. I have a hunch I’m not alone in that. I have a hunch, based purely on anecdotal evidence, that I am not the only one in academe who suffers from procrastination productivity.

It’s not as if the things I’m accomplishing aren’t worthy and important. They’re fine. They’re good. But they’re not what I think I’m supposed to be doing. Likewise, some of my friends, when they have books due, become master gardeners. Or knit complicated sweaters. I have been the recipient of many extravagant meals because someone didn’t want to work on an article. There have been houses built in place of manuscript pages.

For example, I like my blog despite the dearth of posts. Despite trying the “postaweek” idea, I don’t get around to it much. The good part is that I have published an article and a review this year, and another article will be submitted by the weekend. So things are happening, but . . . there are always these things to do that amount to “vacuuming instead of cleaning the toilet.”

Click over to read the full article, “What Looks Like Productivity.”

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2 thoughts on “Procrastination Productivity

  1. Have you read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott? It’s geared toward fiction writers, but she provides some great advice on tackling procrastination habits that I think are great for any writer.
    Not that I’ve finished this dissertation chapter yet, but…

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    • Yes, I agree with you about Bird by Bird!

      The most useful writing book I found during my dissertation was Eviatar Zerubavel’s Clockwork Muse. A bit procedural, but many effective pointers.

      There’s also Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day.

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