Practice and Procrastination

Practice and Procrastination is not a piece of Jane Austin fanfic, but a miniature revelation about one of the reasons why I put things off.

A very typical cause of procrastination is an unacknowledged confusion about what to do next. There is a gap between the overall plan (which is understood), and the immediate next step (which is not).

Thinking about practice makes me aware of another gap. Namely, the gap between my brain knowing what to do next, and having sufficient practice that the knowledge how has percolated down into the body. So every action must labouriously be directed from consciousness, with correspondingly greater temptation to give up.

For example, for months I have been putting off doing some home renovation work. I could write down, step by step, what is needed. But I have only minimal experience of actually doing any of it. So, when I finally get going, I will need to think through each element of the work.

What happens if I think in terms of practice? Maybe I would drill holes into bricks until the process became automatic. Or paint walls, or rewire plugs, or any similar task. This might not justify itself for a single DIY task, but would if I had any intention of doing this more frequently.

Written on August 11, 2020