Managing Procrastination

I’ve been putting off a post on procrastination for some time now. (I did a search of past posts and found that my first and only post on the topic was “Perfection Procrastination” in February of this year where I questioned the alleged link between perfectionism and procrastination asserted in a post on ABAJournal.com.)

Now ABAJournal.com again provides the motivation for a post on procrastination this time passing on “expert” remarks on managing procrastination. Since the basic motto of The Empowered Paralegal is management of obstacles by identifying them, developing plans for getting over them, and implementing those plans, this post interested me – after all, a good portion of The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional is devoted to time and workload management, and procrastination is a significant impediment to both. The post references a list of 21 tips on managing procrastination by the Time Management Ninja most of which I endorse and many of which are discussed further in my first book.

One of the tips though is a concern for me as the Ninja recommends using caffeine, “Sometimes you need an energy boost. Whether your choice is coffee or Red Bull, a little caffeine can go a long way to getting you going. (And going and going and going…)” While it is true that sometimes you need an energy boost, there is little indication that an energetic procrastinator is any better off than a non-energetic procrastinator. If you have found a way to address a task rather than put it off, some extra energy may help, but extra energy is not going to solve the procrastination problem itself.

Besides, there solution may cause more problems than it solves. For example, ” Studies have also shown that caffeine decreases reaction time to both visual and auditory stimuli; it does not significantly alter numerical reasoning (arithmetic skills) or short-term memory; and it can diminish performance of manual tasks that involve delicate muscular coordination and accurate timing. When caffeine is taken in high doses it can cause many unwanted side effects.” “Caffeine’s Hidden Dangers,” AFPA,  (Accessed Aug. 15, 2012) So you finally get around to doing the task but find that your reaction time is lowered, your short-term memory diminished and your keyboarding is not good!

This is especially dangerous if you find that you “need” caffeine on a regular basis (I’m thinking of the 5-Hour Energy commercials here). If you need an artificial boost on a regular basis, the artificial boost is masking a problem that should be addressed through other means.

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