Faced with endless work...

...Our protagonist bravely defies the odds, and procrastinates.

I've always found it odd how, when spare time blows past like dried leaves out of reach, and deadlines loom on the horizon like a coming storm, I somehow try to glean mere minutes of productivity by spending copious hours in an endless search for doing things more efficiently.

When I was in my late teens, my mother used to lament about the state of my bedroom. True, I had about three rooms packed tightly into the one, and true, I had everything from Vonnegut novels to functional medieval weapons to New Wave cassette collections teetering at every angle, ready to deliver a lethal blow (or was it a smite?) if one did not carefully walk amidst the detritus of 80's adolescent angst. But there was one thing that made her life more bearable: twice a year, the room would be sparkling clean. Specifically, during those weeks with major exams.

You see, I would be lying on my bed, face into a book, losing interest rapidly and musing about how I might learn the material better, when I'd look up and notice that the room around me warranted some sort of hazmat suit, or at least chain mail. "How could anyone study in a place like this?" I wondered. No wonder my mind is drifting. So I'd clean off the series of piles in the far corner that marked some sort of higher elevation, since I knew that was the most likely place to find a desk. That done, I'd have to clear out the area around the revolving piles, since that was most likely my office chair. Then I'd remember a passage from a book that, if I quoted it on my exam, would demonstrate not only a fundamental grasp of the course material (much of which I had yet to read), but also my well-roundedness and keen aptitude towards learning. That meant clearing out that multi-tiered series of piles formally known as a bookcase. (I knew it was my bookcase because my electric guitar and bodhran were perched precariously at the top.)

And so on....

In the end, I did get decent grades, but it was in spite of, rather than because of, my tendency to charge headfirst into efficiency, no matter how much time it took.

And so the wheel turns, the seasons cycle, the world spins, and I am again the snake eating its tail.

This week past is a prime example of such tendencies. My job can get demanding at times, now being no exception, and our new life up here in the near-Arctic with a two-year-old and a six-month-old hasn't allowed much time for pursuing other past-times, either leisure or volunteer related (vis. the D*I*Y Planner project). Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted --one typically sets into motion the others-- I know I should be stealing away my precious few private moments for something like ...er... sleep.

But! I cry, how can I sleep when there are things like Ruby on Rails and Tracks to set up, and Levenger notebooks to mod, and calendar forms to design, and a new paper puncher to test, and productivity books to read, and ...?

I could be so much more effective!

My personal rallying cry goes unheard.

It takes every ounce of will-power I have just to shut the laptop, file away the forms, put the punch in the drawer, and head up to bed.

Just maybe, though, I'll tote along the Circa stuff. After all, they say it's good to keep a notebook by the bed. Even if it is two hundred pages of tricked-out planner goodness....

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That is so ME!


I have been procrastinating everything for the last couple of months while I fiddled with planner concepts, read about procrastination and organizing, and rearranged my thinking. :)

I have a little more time to spare with twins approaching two than I had when they were six months old..but what do I do with it? :) Procrastinate.

I have been working out a design for another origami jotter for business cards and index cards (different from Sarah's, no cutting slots). I don't use business cards for planning, I don't need a credit card holder for my purse, I have my index cards in a couple of small photo albums that I like. I don't need this stuff. I'm working on the instructions for an accordion file that I don't need or use. I'm paring down my forms to just two, but I still have all the rest of them.

So sad. My house needs cleaning, my work needs attention, I need more sleep, my laundry's not done..I have two paperbacks to read, for crying out loud. It used to be that nothing would pry me from a paperback until the last page had been devoured.

I'm actually contemplating journaling next year to record better what the kids are doing and how they're developing. With what? A Paperblanks weekly horizontal diary.

Doug, I'm right there with you. :)


Me too :)

BTW, reference: smite

All the definitions are for a verb, so I believe the phrase might be "smite (me) a lethal blow"

...he said, procrastinating yet another delay into his work schedule ;)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


This is me, as well. I really enjoy playing with bits of paper and templates and stuff, and it's easy to convince myself that doing so is vital to my productivity... it's just that I'd rather play than be "productive" any day!



Well, let me say that I can identify completely. I just recently discovered this site, was thrilled, and consequently spent hours looking through the forums, templates, etc. However, with finals looming, I should've spent more time actually being productive--by studying--than reading about it. I can remember one evening reading about how to avoid procrastination--while procrastinating!
So, I have a question: how does one balance the time spent on a planner/organizer with actually getting things done? At what point does an organizer become counter-productive?
Do you wonderfully productive people out there have any tips?

Procrastination For Beginners...

Hi Mary, Good question, I especially like the "wonderfully productive people" bit. ;) IMHO, a planner is counterproductive when it is counterintuitive. If one is procrastinating that is not the fault of the organiser as it is only a tool... Have you read "The Beginner's Mind"?


  • Block out time: Not only for work and study, but fun and bed-time too.

  • Try to establish routines... However, nothing is carved in stone...

  • Take everything as it comes, to err is human as is procrastination, only do not make a habit of it. ;)

(With apologies to Richard Bach for my extremely poor Chiang impression)

Thanks Sardonis

Thanks Sardonis for the reply (BTW, I like your personal info page! :0). I haven't read "The Beginner's Mind" yet, but I'll have to check it out. Now that you pointed it out, blocking out time for different things makes a lot of sense...I know I've thought about it before, but had forgotten that concept of late. So, I'll have to come up with an idea of how much time I should allow myself for working on time management. Naturally, I anticipate that it takes up more energy in the beginning stages of setting up and implementing a planner. Last semester, I'd taken to writing daily "to do" lists on index cards and also keeping a monthly calender with assignments in the front of a school binder...so, I feel as though I have at least gotten my "feet wet."

Oh, and I have a confession to make: among the things that I consider "fun" is looking through this website! (Either I'm a total dweeb or just a really goal-oriented person.)

We all procrastinate...

...and my own struggles eventually led me to start a discussion group. If reading about organizing systems online can help me be more organized (and it has), then reading about fighting procrastination online can help me fight procrastination.

And it has worked... not completely yet, but it helps.

Do you procrastinate?

I guess I should go sign up for that group ---

though really I already know why I procrastinate. Either I don't want to do whatever-it-is OR having the whatever-it-is undone protects me from having to do something I don't want to do.

(As in, gee, I'd love to go visit your mother this weekend, but I haven't finished knitting that sweater I want to give her. Why don't we wait til I have it done?)