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05 March 2012 @ 03:24 pm
 
My father just threw a book at me: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (by David Allen). So, as I tend to do when I am Avoiding Other Things, I skimmed it.

Near the end there is a section titled "Why Bright People Procrastinate the Most"; it includes the side-note "Bright people have the capability of freaking out faster and more dramatically than anyone else."

Now, with my well-honed ability to procrastinate (see: how I got through junior high; how I got through high school; how I got through university, dissertation, and exams; and how I can't count the number of all-nighters I've done in my life), and my nearly unmatched ability to freak out with great haste and melodrama, I must conclude that I am in some way bright. My brain very quickly catalogues (and visualises in glorious detail) all the terrible ways one very simple thing could go wrong, until I'm twiddling my thumbs and whistling Sesame Street songs to avoid the obvious embarrassment, pain, death, or jail-time in which any action would inevitably culminate.

I suppose it's one way to come to that conclusion, mm? Funny to have the traits that make me feel most stupid actually indicate that I'm not, and group me in with many other very bright people.

So I shall leave you with a fitting quote, one which is also side-noted in that section of the book:

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. - Mark Twain

Happy procrastination, ye bright stars of my constellation of friends!
 
 
 
Ginger: rainbow thinksrainydaymare on March 5th, 2012 08:35 pm (UTC)
That's... oddly comforting. I feel a bit better about my infinite capacity for freaking out now! Also, ::procrastination hoofbump::
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Clump of crocuses.cranky__crocus on March 5th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
It is comforting, isn't it? I don't know if you've ever researched procrastination as a form of procrastination, but it's pretty interesting - the different forms of procrastination, and the like. I can't recall exactly what mine is (I have a crap memory), but it's something like the "nervous perfectionist procrastinator"; many of my friends in uni were the "relaxed non-perfectionist procrastinators" in that, instead of avoiding things in a 'alsdkjflasjf here are all the ways it could go wrong and I could look stupid' way they did it with a 'nawr it's all good, I got all the time in the world' mentality. I would fret up until the last seconds before I passed something in; they'd finish theirs (often under the word limit, when I would have to cut mine down) and say 'eh, good enough' before passing it in. And other variants of procrastinators...

We are a legion of the mighty. If only we could be bothered to, like, get together and organise (as if!), we could take over the world. Maybe next year...

*Procrastination hoofbump back.* After I read that section I was all, "I'M GOING TO TACKLE THE WORLD NOW!" But instead I went potty, jumped on my bed, put a bin-liner in my rubbish bin and threw out one back of chips, took a long while putting my hair up in the perfect "I'm a productive person of society" bun (I have lots of hair), decided not to put on a bra, and then heard the 'beep' that your comment left in my inbox.

And here I am, responding at length.

So...success?

I WILL TACKLE YOU, CLUTTER. don't eat me
Shivshiv5468 on March 5th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
Also bright people have more interesting things to do.
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Delicate crocus.cranky__crocus on March 5th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
While this has applied to me during many points in my life, I'm not sure it does now.

Unless squeeing about lesbians and fandoms and cute animals on the Internet count.

Then I always have more interesting things to do.
CaroRulescarorules on March 5th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
Smart ppl procrastinate more cuz we know we'll make it anyway!
Kiwi Crocus: Boots || Boots and jeans.cranky__crocus on March 5th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
Hahaha. Sometimes I think that I won't make it, but I'm pretty sure that deep down I always know I will. (; History tends to agree with me. :B
iselima: Running Horseiselima on March 5th, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
Utterly recognizable, though I wonder if that should be a comforting or rather a discomforting thought *g*

That on the side, as I should also remark that I like this post a lot and below the funny tone, it's of course a serious and painful matter.

Looking at myself, the drama or melodrama is often limited to the simple thought, "I am unable to do this". I'm happy I don't see all the terrible ways one very simple thing could go wrong, yet my feeling is not helping me to get much done at all. Sigh.
Kiwi Crocus: Animal || Dog-tired.cranky__crocus on March 5th, 2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, no, you're in good company here on LJ! We're the best of the best, as far as procrastination goes.

...also remark that I like this post a lot and below the funny tone, it's of course a serious and painful matter.
Ah, I'm glad you picked up on that, and it's very true. I often try to cloak things in humour (to keep my LJ space from being too dark much of the time), but yes indeed, it is also a serious and painful matter. Recently, it has been.

I tend to see all the ways things could mess up, and then go "I can't do this I can't do this I can't do this", and then head into the terrible cycle of "I can't do it because I'm stupid/unprepared/behind/not good enough" which is simply not pleasant!

Maybe next time I'll be able to sit back and think, "I'm procrastinating because I'm intimidated, not because I'm unable or not good enough." That would be nice!
?elsceetaria on March 6th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
I am the Queen of freaking out in a clearly neurotic terrible way. It makes me feel a little better, but just a little. Perhaps, we are all just rationalizing crazy behavior here. :P

I have been trying to temper my procrastination with mixed results though.
Kiwi Crocus: Hair || Starfish braid.cranky__crocus on March 6th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
Well, perhaps a touch of rationalising crazy behaviour, but science is in the habit of going beneath to find the similarities and causality. It does make sense to me that those with the most active thoughts ('the brightest') who excell at creativity, sensitivity, whatever else would, on the flip side, also be able to (unintentionally) put that effort into the dark imaginings. That only covers the freak-outs, though, and not all procrastinators freak out; a great many of them are still very bright.

I hate to think of people as "intelligent" or "unintelligent", since there are so many different sorts of intelligence in the world, but here I suppose I'll go for "academic intelligence". Through my schooling, I found that a good number of my peers who weren't quite as "academically intelligent" (couldn't grasp academic writing, had trouble memorising the sort of things we had to be able to recall quickly, revising a huge amount of information for exams) were also able to procrastinate less. They always finished their papers before I did and finished revising for exams before I was through the thick of my revising. And, terrible as it might sound, I consistently out-scored them (though I don't put much stock in grades much of the time).

Though I'm certainly not saying that bright people are forever doomed to procrastination. The valedictorian of my high school class was very bright - she just got accepted into vet school - and had once upon a time been a procrastinator, but she was somehow able to (mostly) push herself out of that mentality. She started getting projects and the like done early; she even helped me do that more often. Although, the more ridiculous an assignment was to us, the more likely we both were to put it off; some of them felt like insults to our intelligence.

Sometimes I am more able to temper my procrastination. It takes a great force of effort, though, and it's not an effort I'm always willing to put in (on top of the effort it takes, just naturally, to do the tasks).

And now this comment is all over the place!
?elsceetaria on March 6th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
All over the place can be good.

I see what you're saying. :) It all makes perfect sense.
Rosa | ¯\(ºдಠ)/¯rosaxx50 on March 6th, 2012 05:45 am (UTC)
Near the end there is a section titled "Why Bright People Procrastinate the Most"; it includes the side-note "Bright people have the capability of freaking out faster and more dramatically than anyone else."

Lol.

I procrastinate too much, but I rarely freak out about it because I'm too busy catching up to freak out. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

What does the book say? I think that bright people assume they'll do it later, and when their all-nighter actually gets it done on time, it eventually becomes a habit.

I must conclude that I am in some way bright.

None of that, dear. You are of course very bright, and you might pull all-nighters, but it's the same amount of work in the end.
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Birds of a feather.cranky__crocus on March 18th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
Hahaha I'm always busy catching up, too, but I always have a bit of extra time to freak out. Sometimes I freak out as I'm catching up - multi-talented, I guess. (;

I definitely formed a habit of it, since at least junior high. I'm not sure how I started it. :B I think part of it was just my nature!

It's definitely the same amount of work in the end. I found in university that often I was putting in more work (even time-wise), despite the procrastination, than many of my friends who started working on things earlier. It's just that my time was in a huge chunk with no real breaks--which is, in a way, how I prefer to work. :B
zee: alice smilezofbadfaith on March 6th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
Near the end there is a section titled "Why Bright People Procrastinate the Most"; it includes the side-note "Bright people have the capability of freaking out faster and more dramatically than anyone else."

If I'm not bright, my life certainly is. And I was going to say "I knew it" [about being bright], but I don't feel very bright right now, so no. :( Oh well.
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Delicate crocus.cranky__crocus on March 18th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
I don't usually feel very bright, either. Hardly ever. So we certainly can't go by that. :B