Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Procrastination and Resolutions

This time of the year is time for New Year's Resolutions. In this context, I think about an essay I read about procrastination.

The gist of the essay is that all procrastination is not bad. There is such a thing called "good procrastination". It is good to procrastinate (or put off) on the mundane chores of life if one is spending the time working on something really Important. This thought ties in nicely if we equate Resolutions with above Important things.

I always try to have only one or two Resolutions, but end up making too many, only to find them unmanageable. One year I tried breaking down into categories, and picking one from each. For example, health, family, religion, job, etc. That seemed to have worked better.

Of course, well-defined goals also work better. When I was working on my book on image processing (which took over a year) I had some clear things I wanted to accomplish - and it kept me on track.

I still believe the best resolutions are those which are ambitious (and planned.) For example, building a new software product, finishing that college degree, writing a book, learning a new language, etc. If one consistently works on a project for one year, it is bound to show some results one is proud of.

There is a danger to sticking to resolutions. New opportunities may be completely missed because of doggedly pursuing old resolutions. So maybe one of my resolutions should be "Execute on 'chance favors the prepared mind'?" Heh-heh :-)

Let's say that some of my most meaningful accomplishments from last year - such as reviving my interest in photography, bicycling the Bd countryside, or writing this blog - were not in any New Year's list. Nevertheless I am grateful for them.

So I have my resolutions. But I hold them close to my chest, and will look back December, Inshallah, to see what surprises life had in store.

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