Procrastination Progress Report

I think it’s safe to assume that everyone has the context of this post, but just in case the hyperlink to the context is provided at absolutely no extra cost (twice).

If you’re reading this then it’s quite obvious that I’m doing well at the “writing blog entries” task. It is no longer being procrastinated.

Obvious drawback is that other things are. Although, it’s not really that serious considering it’s the weekend. So, if I avoided blogging, then I’d should be working, but I’m not going to do any work on the weekend.

Of course, that means I should skip work and look at Project A.
Nah, skip that too.

Project B: looking good kids.
In earlier discussions with Quinn it was decided that I should incentivise myself by issuing the gifts to recipients as they are completed. Since this behaviour could result in certain people getting upset because “they didn’t get one,” it forces me to actually complete all of the gifts.
Further, we decided that they would be distributed in batches. The first batch has already shipped. The second batch is almost ready to ship (one story left to write, but I know what to write). This means I wrote one story and conceptualised another. Productivity people!
Now, there is some concern that this particular batch might require an additional item, in order to avoid disappointment. So scratch that: two stories to write, but one already conceptualised and the weekend is but young.

Chess: I have played quite a bit today, happily avoiding other activities. I’ve discovered a rather amusing variant that they play on FICS, called “Atomic Chess.”
Now that’s an allusion to the atomic bomb because when you capture a piece, it “explodes,” removing the captured piece, itself, and all adjacent pieces from the board (with the exception of pawns, which stay behind). Now, if you don’t really play chess much, this won’t be of that much interest. But let me just say this: I feel a more apt name for the variant would be “Suicide Bomber Chess,” because there are no ballistic-missile pieces in chess.
That’s a useful piece you’re blowing up when you make a capture.

Unrelated (although not, since it is procrastination but not part of the structure): I’ve spawned a halfhaggis Flickr account. It has a couple of photos up that a posted to test whether F-spot integrated with it properly. It does. I’m mighty pleased because it’s so easy.
Perhaps I’ll start spewing out photos there on a regular basis. At least then, those who care, have a chance of actually seeing some my photos.

Playing chess again and its role in productivity

So it seems I may have rekindled an interest in playing chess on-line. Surely, this can’t possibly have anything to do with a previous post regarding why I’m not blogging as much.

No, I didn’t think so. Surely I’ve not taken up the chess again in order to avoid Personal Project B, which surely wasn’t devised in order to avoid Personal Project A?
And surely neither Personal Project A, nor B were devised in order to avoid Work?
And surely, this blogging I’m doing now hasn’t been implemented in order to avoid all previously mentioned activities?

To be entirely frank, I have finally devised a sufficiently complex web of tasks that will allow me to properly implement the concept of structured procrastination.

I have work to do, which I’m paid to do.
Work consists of a number of sub-tasks. These sub-tasks are:

  • Work for clients (billable hours, which earns the company, and consequently me, money)
  • Administration/innovation (non-billable time which earns the company nothing — at least not directly )

I group administration and innovation together simply because they don’t directly earn me any money. I tend to prefer to do tasks in the second category. During office hours, those should be the only activities I should be carrying out.
If you know anything about structured procrastination you’ll know that there aren’t enough categories of things to do for the procrastinator (a.k.a me) to actually get anything done.

This is why Project A was initiated. Project A is effectively “write a novel.” It was, “write a novel in 30 days” but I hadn’t fully established my structured procrastination web at the time, and so didn’t quite finish in time.

Project A
Project A is ostensibly an after hours project. In other words, something I will never work on at the office. Pfffft.

Thus, the next procrastination layer is set in place. Project A, although predominantly worked on at home, occasionally is used at the office as part of the structured procrastination strategy.

Unfortunately, I soon found that I was struggling to work on Project A as much as I’d like to. Writing a novel seemed a little overwhelming. It’s a lot of words, and they all need to relate to each other in some way. I can’t just write randomly generated words. That would leave me with a novel-sized piece of spam.
Evidently, to avoid writing the longer story, it would make sense to write shorter stories. Thus, the birth of Project B.

Project B
Project B, as I have now given away, is a writing project. If you know me well enough, that would probably have been fairly obvious. I will spend time writing a gift for people. The gift will be the writing, and it will also be the time I spent writing it.

So, the gift that spawns from Project B is something I created while avoiding doing something else. It could be argued that this fact devalues the gift. To that I counter with, “Next time I’ll just browse meaningless crap on the internet, and your gift will be me telling you ‘I browsed meaningless crap on the internet, for you.'”

FICS (Free Internet Chess Server)
As if that’s not enough, I suddenly remembered that I used to play chess a lot, and I thought I should try out the FICS again.
I originally signed up in 1998, but never played on-line that much then. The not even 28k modem might have had something to do with that — also my irrational fear of having to interact with strangers (even anonymous ones). Sometimes they wanted to chat, and not just play chess. The horror!

having got over those hang-ups, I’ve started playing again. At home and at work, during my breaks (honest). Of course, my breaks seem to get a little extensive sometimes.
Gloriously, this allows me to side-step the inconvenience of always writing things. The structure of my procrastination is heavily weighted towards writing things. The chess allows me to break that monotony, just a little.

Let’s review what we’ve learned so far today:
Avoid work by doing admin.
Avoid admin by doing Project A.
Avoid Project A by doing Project B.
Avoid Project B by logging in to FICS.

Closing the loop
Now, the clear problem is finding something to avoid that will make me want to do work instead.
What I’ve described so far isn’t, strictly speaking, structured procrastination. But so what. This is my take on it.

To close the loop, I need to do something to avoid playing chess. Now, I’d rather play chess than work — so that’s not going to cut it.
So, I bring blogging into the equation. Following on the logic that I stopped blogging for a while, but wanted to blog more regularly than I had been, it’s clear that I was procrastinating posting new entries. This is excellent news indeed.

I hereby set the completely unrealistic goal of posting a useful entry every week day. I know there’s no way I’ll be able to stick to that, but I assert that I must do it. It’s important.

Now, in order to avoid blogging everyday, I’ll do some work, thus closing the loop.