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Ask HN: Do you cross procrastinate?
14 points by sathishmanohar on Aug 28, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments
I've asked this question yesterday about, can I work on two ideas at the same time. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2931558

The reason I asked that question is, because of my behavior pattern, I've been noticing of myself. I'm constantly losing interest in one thing I'm supposed to do, but I suddenly find some task that was boring yesterday, appeals to me now.

When I fight against this conscientiousness, I often doesn't get anything done. But, when I go with the flow, and jump in to do, what interests me at that time. I get great results out of it. This works great, as long as I'm switching between my pre-defined useful tasks, instead of inventing reasons to go online, read, check facebook or twitter.

I call this "Cross Procrastination". Do you experience anything like this?

When one is basically "stumped", walking away is often the most effective, efficient means to make progress. The mind continues to work on it in the background while you do other things and then you can come back to it later from a fresh perspective, less frustrated and so on. I told this to my son once when he was playing a computer game. I walked past and he was basically spitting nails in frustration. I told him to walk away for a time. He did and when he went back later he was able to solve it, first try.

If the task is more physical, a physical break can make it more do-able. I had to hook up my own washer and dryer by myself once and reached a point where I was very frustrated and couldn't make something work. Napping allowed me to come back to the task and promptly put together what I had previously struggled with fruitlessly for an hour. I had simply been physically tired.

So I can see that switching between two tasks could be a very effective approach, and not "procrastination" at all.

I feel I'm more productive if I have 2-3 "major projects" going on at once. Whenever I get frustrated one I can switch and continue later after I get tired of the other one again. Helps if they are not very similar. Currently I have a Facebook app and the Japanese candy service going on, which have almost nothing in common.

Chad Fowler wrote an interesting blog post roughly about this topic in 2003: http://chadfowler.com/2003/02/06/attention-span-challenged - Working like this also works for me (at least most of the time ;) ).

@struppi and @onedognight awesome!! I'm so happy, because of the validations you've provided. Since, One of my core product is solely based on this, Attention, Procrastination Problem.

Others call it Structured Procrastination. http://structuredprocrastination.com/

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