Listen, I don’t know what you’re working on – you could tell me, I’d so much like to know – but because it’s you, I can guess that you’re taking some chances here. You’re trying to write something you’re not quite sure about yet, you’re feeling your way, you’d exploring. And it’s a lot safer to not do any of those things. It’s a lot easier to just fire-fight the current job, the current problem. We all have current work problems and they are always urgent, nothing will change that. However.
Try that new thing and try it now. No waiting. Definitely no waiting for other people. You’re a writer, you’re a creator, go create, go write, go make. I’m all for being productive but there has to be a point: being productive just to get the cash in the door today is maybe enough for now, but you need more and unlike a giant number of people, you have the talent to get more. Hopefully to get more money: I’d like you to have enough that money isn’t a worry any more. But definitely to get more created, to grow in your field and in your heart.
That’s a bit arty-farty. Try this instead for harsh pragmatism: that thing you write is likely to be rubbish, that risk you take is likely to fail. If it is rubbish, if you do fail, you are still pretty close to infinitely further ahead than you were. You’re not still sitting there thinking next summer I’ll do this great thing, you’re standing there having done it. That’s even if it went wrong. Even then. Still ahead, still better, still taller.
Just fail fast so that you can get on to the next version or you get on to the new things you can only see from having gone through this process. Pixar got this “fail fast” rule for the same reason: they’re experimenting and they are rejecting. Samuel Beckett nailed it: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Mary Pickford nailed it better: “Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.”
It’s not quite what it looks like, but if you’re a Gmail user and you switch this feature on, you can now have between 10 and 30 seconds to change your mind about sending an email.
Around the web this is being touted as a way to stop the hellstorm of an ill-thought, kneejerk angry email you sent in a fury. I think more practically it’s going to be to save you some of the times you forget to add the attachment you meant.
Here’s what Google says:
Previously a popular feature in Gmail Labs, and recently added to Inbox by Gmail, today we’re adding ‘Undo Send’ as a formal setting in Gmail on the web.
‘Undo Send’ allows people using Gmail to cancel a sent mail if they have second thoughts immediately after sending. The feature is turned off by default for those not currently using the Labs version, and can be enabled from the General tab in Gmail settings.
Google Apps update alerts: Undo Send for Gmail on the web (22 June 2015)
It isn’t really an undo. It’s a not-do-so-quickly. What happens is that the email just doesn’t go when it says it does, it waits in a little limbo for a moment. That’s why you can have a brief time to ‘unsend’ it but you can’t, for instance, undo the bitter message you sent yesterday to your ex.
This also isn’t new. It’s a feature in other email services but Gmail is definitely the biggest one and it’s so big that you can bet money both Microsoft with Outlook and Apple with Mail will surely introduce it soon.
Read the full piece for a bit more detail.
There are limits here: if you want to quit your job then you should indeed wait until you can do it but what you shouldn’t is wait to begin. Start doing the thing that will get you out. Start now. Stop waiting.
Productive people sometimes confuse the difference between reasonable delay and true procrastination. The former can be useful (“I’ll respond to this email when I have more time to write it”). The latter is, by definition, self-defeating (“I should respond to this email right now, and I have time, and my fingers are on the keys, and the Internet connection is perfectly strong, and nobody is asking me to do anything else, but I just … don’t … feel like it.”).
When scientists have studied procrastination, they’ve typically focused on how people are miserable at weighing costs and benefits across time. For example, everybody recognizes, in the abstract, that it’s important to go to the dentist every few months. The pain is upfront and obvious—dental work is torture—and the rewards of cleaner teeth are often remote, so we allow the appointment to slip through our minds and off our calendars. Across several categories including dieting, saving money, and sending important emails, we constantly choose short and small rewards (whose benefits are dubious, but immediate) over longer and larger payouts (whose benefits are obvious, but distant).
In the last few years, however, scientists have begun to think that procrastination might have less to do with time than emotion. Procrastination “really has nothing to do with time-management,” Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, told Psychological Science. “To tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”
The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It – Derek Thompson, The Atlantic (26 August 2015)
Read the full piece. Via Inc.com and Lifehacker.