I started working before the word processor as we know it today and the graphical desktop became mainstream. In fact, in my first few weeks on the job, I used a typewriter.
When I joined The Freeman, a Cebu City-based community newspaper, in 1996, its newsroom was using networked PCs running DOS. It took me a while to get used to writing using a “word processor.” I was scared at sitting in front of those green monitors and their menacing command prompts.
Back then, when reporters sat in front of the computers it was to write stories. The writing program occupied the entire screen and you could not multi-task. There were no games in our newsroom PCs and the Internet could only be accessed on one computer.
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Here’s an interesting essay on structured procrastination by John Perry, a philosophy professor at Stanford.
In the essay, Perry points the way forward to procrastinators like me:
“The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.”
Structured procrastination, Perry said, is organizing your tasks to exploit the fact that “procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.”
It’s a matter of picking the right set of tasks to be placed at the top of the list: tasks that “seem to have clear deadlines (but really don’t). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren’t).”
Finally, I see method to my madness.