Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Productive Procrastinator

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I’m a productive procrastinator. That’s what this post is. This is exactly what I’m talking about.

People ask me how I have time for everything, but they don’t know what I have on my plate and what my priorities are. So I look “productive” to them. They don’t know what else I *should* be doing. I’m great at initiating things; most of the time I manage to finish them. But it looks cool to the outside world when you initiate things.

So, for example, the other day I wrote this post for the OLC blog entitled Living the Unconference Life – a Form of Praxis? I had a million important deadlines looming over me and a hundred other things to do. But instead? While putting my daughter to sleep I remembered that I’d promise Sandra I’d write a blogpost for OLC and that I said something about unconferences… and then as I was putting my kid to sleep I thought that I live an unconference life all the time, and that I go to virtual conferences and have a blast with the Twitter back channel… and my daughter fell asleep… and I just wrote the post and sent it to Sandra to post on the OLC blog.

I had a million other things I could have thought of while putting my daughter to sleep but they needed more focus. I had a million other things I could have done with my 10 minutes, but they would have taken more energy. And they wouldn’t have given me the immediate rush of finishing a 1,000 word post.

PhD students (I still remember those days) are amazingly productive procrastinators. You’re supposed to be finishing or editing a chapter, but instead you’re looking up references. Or reading new articles. It’s productive, but it’s not your immediate priority. Sure, it’s better than watching TV or doing nothing, but it’s really procrastination under the guise of productivity.

Like now, I should be doing other stuff. I’m writing this post. Coz I wanted to respond to Laura on Twitter.

Enough. Back to the drawing board…

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