Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Article of the Day: Good and Bad Procrastination

Posted by Michael Dickens on January 13, 2010

I haven’t posted anything in the last few days, so I want to share with you something that I enjoyed reading. Once again, it is an article by Paul Graham. It is entitled Good and Bad Procrastination. I recommend that you read the article before reading my comments below.

We should not ignore what Paul Graham calls “errands.” Many times, they are necessary in the long run for us to be able to continue doing our important work. But at the same time, our most important work requires the right mood; it requires inspiration. This is why I never get to bed when I want to: I’m either at school or doing homework for most of the day, with no more than an hour of straight free time; but starting around 8:00, I get a nice long stretch of time (just how long depends on when I go to bed) where I can do pretty much whatever I want. It is during this time that I think of all my really cool ideas. Then I end up staying awake for three hours, working on my cool new project.

Errands are so effective at killing great projects that a lot of people use them for that purpose.

What’s really annoying is when I’m working on a project (usually a program) and I get interrupted by something, like having to do the laundry, or, you know, eat. Or something like that.

Perhaps the most important part of the article is when Graham poses this question:

What’s the best thing you could be working on, and why aren’t you?

Don’t just read it. Answer the question. What? You’re still reading on? Ha, you’re very clever. Well I can force you to read it. What’s the best thing you could be working on, and why aren’t you? What’s the best thing you could be working on, and why aren’t you? What’s the best thing you could be working on, and why aren’t you? Have you answered the question yet?

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