22 Excuses that I use to not Do Important Work

Here are a few of the excuses I tell myself in order to procrastinate:

  1. They won’t let me
  2. I am too young
  3. I am too old
  4. I am only one person
  5. I don’t know enough
  6. I am not a guru
  7. This could be embarrassing
  8. This will be embarrassing
  9. This is too touchy-feely
  10. I won’t get paid for this
  11. This isn’t business stuff
  12. I have to finish the things I have already started
  13. Seth Godin has already said it better than I can
  14. I’ll do it tomorrow/later/after this coffee
  15. Who am I to think I know something special about this?
  16. I’ve got plenty of time next week
  17. I’ve got plenty of time this year
  18. I’ll do it this summer
  19. I’ll do it after the summer
  20. I need to do a little bit more research
  21. Who’s going to read this anyway?
  22. [¡¡¡ insert your own excuse here ;-) !!!!]

Richard Hamming

That’s just 21…  I have many, many more.

What are your top excuses?  What do you do when you find yourself procrastinating?

Richard Hamming tells of how he would lose lunch companions because he would continually ask

  • “What are the important problems of your field?”
  • “What important problems are you working on?”
  • “If what you are doing is not important, and if you don’t think it is going to lead to something important, why are you working on it?”

His speech You and Your Research is posted in full at Paul Graham’s blog.

2 comments

  1. “I’m not expert enough”, which is a mix of 5 and 6 has been fundamental in my own procrastination…

    1. Yep, I am guilty of that one!

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