Vicci Ho is a writer, film programmer and producer. She has written for Variety and worked for film festivals across the globe, including Toronto International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival and directed the Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.  She is the President of Janitor Interactive: a production company specializing in games.

This is her personal page.

The habit of procrastinating on work

I procrastinate so much I actually put it on some of my less serious profiles. PROCRASTINATOR. Even as I am writing this blog, I see myself procrastinating: there's always an article to read, a twitter feed to follow, friends to chat with online and beyond. It is always so difficult to focus when I know I still have some time...even though by time I mean a few hours before it is due. I have had this problem since I remembered: high school, university, work projects and now grad school. I am going to focus on identifying this habit while I am at ITP, and try and figure out the habit loop that is forming with homework: when the cycle starts when I end up scrambling to finish my work even though better time management would avoid that problem most of the time (let's face it, we get too much work sometimes.)

This isn't a habit where I can inexplicably link a time stamp, but it would usually start after my final class of the week, which is, incidentally, Persuasive Design on Thursday. I then have Thursday to Monday off, before my first class on Tuesday.

I think it's fair for me to allow myself thursday evenings off, so let's start the cycle on friday.

Friday should be the day when I could clear some work so my week won't be so hectic. On Fridays I would try and sit at a desk (at home or on the floor) and start doing the work I have for the upcoming week (the cue), and usually within 30 minutes to an hour, I would start to look for a distraction. Maybe I will tell myself there's some new TV eps to watch, or I can catch up on some socializing, and I could chat with people on the floor, maybe play some foosball...and the short break I took would inevitably turn into a break for the entire day. Instead of feeling relaxed, I would feel guilt and disappointment knowing I would have wasted the entire day.

For most of the time the cycle would continue on Saturday, and my guilt and frustration would increase ten-fold, adding to the stress level.

Sunday I would be able to do some work but it tends to be minimal: maybe a few readings I should have been able to finish by Friday evening. By Sunday I would be trying some assignments due on Tuesday, and likely finishing them on Monday. By then, the cramming cycle would have begun again.

I think the reward is for enjoyment: it is easier to not work and to relax, watch TV, play games etc. However, it is not a habit I would like to sustain as I would just feel guilt afterwards. I however would need to do this for a few more weeks to identify what the reward truly is and see if I can adjust it in some way.

As for inserting a new routine: I might try to set a fixed time ot how much distraction I can do. Perhaps I can try and set a timer for one hour of non-work time where it would be sufficient to at least complete one episode of TV or play or chat. I would set a timer, and when the timer goes off, I would set another one hour timer for work only. all webpages will be off, phone notification will be off, and try not to be distracted in any way.

I intend to give this a go this week and continue on for the rest of the semester. Wish me luck.

Part II -- ideas, paths, partners

Call for the New Museum