Working: One of the Most Dangerous Forms of Procrastination.

I keep track of all my Secrets of Adulthood—the lessons I’ve learned, with difficulty, as I’ve grown up.

A very helpful Secret of Adulthood is: Working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination.

When I have to do something I don’t want to do, any other task seems irresistibly enticing.

Sometimes, this tendency can be productive. I may not have gotten that piece written, but my office is clean, my errands are done, and I’ve cleared out a lot of email.

The problem is that—yes, I’ve been productive, but not in the right way. That piece still isn’t finished!

These days, I’m careful to be honest with myself about what “work” I need to do, and I recognize the work-as-procrastination excuse. I’m also wary of the related tendency: busy-work-as-procrastination excuse. Re-formatting a document isn’t writing! Unfocused reading on the internet isn’t research!

When a task is truly horrible, I sometimes tackle it with the resolution to Suffer for 15 minutes.

How about you? Do you procrastinate by working—by cleaning, organizing, answering emails, cruising the internet, making plans, or the like?

Join me on Twitter, @gretchenrubin.

(Photo: msjacoby, Flickr)

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