Punch ahead through anxiety, and be brave, friends!
Happy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week!
Marc Andreessen’s surprising procrastination antidote to super-productive superpowers.
Don’t waste productivity superpower on getting just any old stuff done. Get the right stuff done …
By saying no to spending time thinking unhelpful thoughts …
And by taking time for yourself. Pick your battles and recharge your human batteries —
So that you can face the question with that strong heart of yours, of what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
And stay open to face fear, for “being vulnerable, especially in our work, is fucking terrifying” and that vulnerability is where empathy begins.
It’s almost inconceivable that somebody as productive as Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape, Opsware, Ning, and Andreessen Horowitz, needs a way to deal with procrastination. But it turns out he’s just like the majority of humankind.
His solution of structured procrastination is rather devious. Instead of fighting procrastination, go with the flow and put that task on hold. Meanwhile, work on something else. He explains:
The gist of Structured Procrastination is that you should never fight the tendency to procrastinate — instead, you should use it to your advantage in order to get other things done.
Generally in the course of a day, there is something you have to do that you are not doing because you are procrastinating.
While you’re procrastinating, just do lots of other stuff instead.
Photo: Dick Jensen
‘The longer you work, the less efficient you are,’ said Bob Kustka, the founder of Fusion Factor, a productivity and time-management consulting firm in Norwell, Mass. He says workers are like athletes in that they are most efficient in concentrated bursts…. Working energy, like physical energy, ‘is best used in spurts where we work hard on a few focused activities and then take a brief respite,’ he says. And those respites look an awful lot like wasting time.
Lisa Belkin explores how we are both working harder and wasting more time. Whether you consider it wasting time, or productive “jell time”, she concludes that it’s the end result that matters.
We are constantly trading off what we are doing now against what we might do in the future. As long as we are doing that in a reasonable way, it doesn’t matter that we are putting some things off.
Frank Partnoy reports on how experts in different fields view procrastination in Procrastination Rules. He describes how a journalist manages time by managing delay:
For projects that require different amounts of time, Guerrera makes separate lists. He describes a technique he and many other journalists use: “We have two sets of notebooks, a small one and a big one. The small one is for immediate day-to-day stories, the work we have to do right away. The big one is for big thoughts, features and stories that have some time. There’s an actual physical distinction between our immediate stories and the ones we can wait on. The physical form of two notebooks is our way of saying it’s too overwhelming to do both at the same time.”
Managing delay or, yes, procrastination, can be positive, reasonable behavior depending on what you’re actually trading off.
Don’t wait until you feel like doing something.
Life might be a race against time but it is enriched when we rise above our instincts and stop the clock to process and understand what we are doing and why. A wise decision requires reflection, and reflection requires a pause.
Frank Partnoy, “Waiting Game”, Financial Times.
Partnoy, author of the forthcoming book Wait: The Useful Art of Procrastination, writes about the value of delay and taking the full time we are given to make better decisions.
Maybe the best way to think about time management is in terms of delay management!