Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baking bread

I have a hypothesis that people who do work where progress is difficult to measure are more likely to procrastinate by doing very tangible things rather than doing something passive like watching TV. I know many other bloggers have written about how they'd rather clean their kitchen, organize their closet, or weed their garden than work on whatever pressing but seemingly endless project is on their plate. For example, Jon says he knew when his mom had a big writing deadline or presentation coming up because they'd have a dozen loaves of bread in the kitchen. Baking, cooking, cleaning, and organizing are tasks where progress and product are clearly identifiable. They're immediately satisfying.

I know I use housework (and blogging) to procrastinate on whatever slowly progressing research task I need to tackle. I think I'm going to start referring to this type of procrastination as "baking bread," and I hope Jon and others will call me out on it and remind me to get back to work on the less immediately satisfying stuff with the bigger payoff.


gigirose said...

I totally agree, and I totally do that as well, BUT-- I also think that sometimes, while my hand are tied up in that repetitive, meditative task (folding laundry, kneading bread, walking the dog) my brain roams on, and sometimes my best, most organized thoughts come from these times.
Occasionally, procrastination can be quite productive!

SilverRowan said...

I know this is a bit late, but I want to add some input here: there are theories that at least part of why depression is rising (in addition to simply recognizing its presence) is that the payoff for things we do now in our society are not present or are so long term. And that short, immediately rewarding tasks are immensely important in maintaining a healthy mind-scape!

I know with me personally, crafting helps keep my mood up :)

Karina said...

That makes so much sense, SilverRowan! That makes me feel like I'm maintaining my mental health and sanity instead of procrastinating :-)