Jim just forwared me this great post on procrastination. You have NO idea how much I procrastinate. I'm in a wave of it now and it's killing me. The stress of having so many things to do and being incapable of even starting is like a hard core inside me that I carry around with me.
It's like this guy just opened up my skull and rooted around with a pencil:
The idea of reading about how to cure yourself from procrastination is very thrilling. Depending on the quality of the writing the optimistic feeling of a better life lasts either for the first few chapters or sometimes even for the whole article. And what a feeling it is. I'll organize my life! I'll just start! I'll no longer procrastinate!
Procrastinators usually don't have any trouble starting yet another TODO list or some other life saving organizer. Making such a list work is the difficult task
Jarno also points to this post by Joel On Software from a couple months ago. It's sort of comforting to know that someone else is like this:
Sometimes I just can't get anything done.
Sure, I come into the office, putter around, check my email every ten seconds, read the web, even do a few brainless tasks like paying the American Express bill. But getting back into the flow of writing code just doesn't happen.
These bouts of unproductiveness usually last for a day or two. But there have been times in my career as a developer when I went for weeks at a time without being able to get anything done. As they say, I'm not in flow. I'm not in the zone. I'm not anywhere.
Everybody has mood swings; for some people they are mild, for others, they can be more pronounced or even dysfunctional. And the unproductive periods do seem to correlate somewhat with gloomier moods.
It makes me think of those researchers who say that basically people can't control what they eat, so any attempt to diet is bound to be short term and they will always yoyo back to their natural weight. Maybe as a software developer I really can't control when I'm productive, and I just have to take the slow times with the fast times and hope that they average out to enough lines of code to make me employable.
But it's not the days when I "only" get two hours of work done that worry me. It's the days when I can't do anything.
I'm going through this right now. I can't live like this forever, the stress will kill me.
Back to work. Ahem.