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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!
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.