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Dealing with procrastination


alwaysinvert
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Even though this board seems to be filled to the brim with hard-working people I'm sure all of you sometimes have problems with procrastination. So the question is how do address the problem?

 

I have had a weekly deal with a friend that I would have to put in x hours of work or donate a substantial sum of money to a charity I loathe. While it worked in getting me to put in the hours, I'm not sure it actually made me more efficient or purposeful in reading/working.

 

So short-term I prefer surfing blogs, boards and news sites, and while nothing wrong with that per se, I'm sure that long-term a whole lot of that time would be put to better use reading company reports and books. How do you make yourself buckle down and get things done?

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I think it really has to do with passion. I love investing. I'll read books, blogs, etc. I'll admit, I don't read many annual reports. I will read through company filings though. I haven't yet developed a passion for reading annual reports. I hope I do someday though.

 

Like, it may sound sad to some, but I would much, much rather read about potential investments than go to a party or go get wasted and stuff. I may be a bit boring, but it what I love to do!

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who has that problem.  I'll start a 10-K and "need" a break, so I'll start my cycle of website visits for the umpteenth time today. 

 

I've got a backup hard drive full of ebooks, reports and papers that I want to read, but the cyber pile just keeps adding up.  I have books from 3-4 years ago that I downloaded and haven't opened the file since the download. 

 

I'm a procrastinator with everything though, always have been. 

If anyone else here has done the Kolbe testing, usually around the University years, I'm an information gatherer and my follow through is poor.  Surprise, surprise. 

 

I've read some books and articles on procrastination, but it's all just the same motivational mumbo jumbo with the odd useless catch phrase thrown in.

 

I'm sure that stahleyp is right though, it's all about passion. 

 

Thinking about it now as I write this, I think my biggest problem is common to most, information overload.  I get as much info as I can about something and then just file it away.  Then when I do go back I guess I just don't know where to start. 

I've been trying to purge myself from the useless shat but it takes time.  I have to force myself to go and look at blogs I follow or forums I visit to see if I'm really getting anything out of it, or if I can actually add anything for others.  Then, like everything else, I forget about it because........................I do it later.  ::)

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stahleyp:

 

Of course it has to do with passion but that does not really address the core of the problem.

 

As an analogy I am really passionate about golf. I also like to sleep in the morning. Some mornings even when the weather is good I'll choose to sleep longer instead of hitting the golf course. I'll invariably regret this in the afternoon, since playing golf is much more rewarding to me than sleeping one more hour, but I regularly make this decision anyway.

 

How can you minimize the occurence of your short-term interests taking precedence over your long-term ones? Reading write-ups on blogs is easy, actually formulating your own hypotheses after wading through numbers on your own is harder.

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stahleyp:

 

Of course it has to do with passion but that does not really address the core of the problem.

 

As an analogy I am really passionate about golf. I also like to sleep in the morning. Some mornings even when the weather is good I'll choose to sleep longer instead of hitting the golf course. I'll invariably regret this in the afternoon, since playing golf is much more rewarding to me than sleeping one more hour, but I regularly make this decision anyway.

 

How can you minimize the occurence of your short-term interests taking precedence over your long-term ones? Reading write-ups on blogs is easy, actually formulating your own hypotheses after wading through numbers on your own is harder.

 

To me, at least, it's still about passion. Passion gets it done.  My brother loves fishing. Loves it. I don't think he really even minds getting up at 3am because the activity of fishing excites him enough to do it. He is that passionate about it.

 

Now, you may really, really like golf. However, if you loved it, the extra hour of sleep would be nothing to worry about.

 

That poses a question for me, too. I like to think that I have a huge passion for investing. In reality, maybe I don't really, really love it. If I did, I would really like to read a lot of annual reports. In all honesty, I don't.

 

Again, I think it really boils down to shear passion of something. If you're honest with yourself, you can know your passions. If you are that passionate about something, you'll do whatever you can to get it done. 

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stahleyp:

 

Of course it has to do with passion but that does not really address the core of the problem.

 

As an analogy I am really passionate about golf. I also like to sleep in the morning. Some mornings even when the weather is good I'll choose to sleep longer instead of hitting the golf course. I'll invariably regret this in the afternoon, since playing golf is much more rewarding to me than sleeping one more hour, but I regularly make this decision anyway.

 

How can you minimize the occurence of your short-term interests taking precedence over your long-term ones? Reading write-ups on blogs is easy, actually formulating your own hypotheses after wading through numbers on your own is harder.

 

I have found setting up bulk of time for specific task and just start doing it the best way. Not for only investment but for all other things which I keep putting for next week or month. As pointed out earlier , it becomes easier if you happens to enjoy something a lot but I still find setting up time with right priority makes it easier. I need to improve on that but it had worked for me many times.

 

I went to a undergraduate school where they don't teach you computer programming even if you are attending computer science degree. They expected us to learn ourselves and use it for solving problems. Focus was on solving problems and not teaching a programming language. It was easy situation for someone having exposure to programming but a person like me, who used a computer first time in life after joining the undergraduate school( don't start laughing, I grew up in pretty weird places), setting  aside 2-3 weeks of time did do the trick. More I understood easier it got and more I was able to enjoy it.

 

Having said that, I agree that if you are really passionate about something you do everything you can to make it happen. I had a roommate in first year of undergraduate. He also never used a computer. He used to spend 18 hours with computers. He designed and wrote best computer game in interschool competition. Finally he did his MS+PHD from top school in USA within 3 and half years. He was simply much more passionate about computers than me. Having that kind of passion makes it easier.

 

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stahleyp:

 

Of course it has to do with passion but that does not really address the core of the problem.

 

As an analogy I am really passionate about golf. I also like to sleep in the morning. Some mornings even when the weather is good I'll choose to sleep longer instead of hitting the golf course. I'll invariably regret this in the afternoon, since playing golf is much more rewarding to me than sleeping one more hour, but I regularly make this decision anyway.

 

How can you minimize the occurence of your short-term interests taking precedence over your long-term ones? Reading write-ups on blogs is easy, actually formulating your own hypotheses after wading through numbers on your own is harder.

 

To me, at least, it's still about passion. Passion gets it done.  My brother loves fishing. Loves it. I don't think he really even minds getting up at 3am because the activity of fishing excites him enough to do it. He is that passionate about it.

 

Now, you may really, really like golf. However, if you loved it, the extra hour of sleep would be nothing to worry about.

 

That poses a question for me, too. I like to think that I have a huge passion for investing. In reality, maybe I don't really, really love it. If I did, I would really like to read a lot of annual reports. In all honesty, I don't.

 

Again, I think it really boils down to shear passion of something. If you're honest with yourself, you can know your passions. If you are that passionate about something, you'll do whatever you can to get it done.

Well, my thinking is this might as well be because your brother is a more rational person than me. Or at least better at fooling his irrational self into rationality.

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You should try procrastinators anonymous... tomorrow... okay that was cheap ::)

 

It is about the passion.  My passion ebbs and flows.  Last winter I wanted to learn about US banks so I read through the 10Ks for WFC, BAC, and a few smaller banks.  This summer I spent a few days working through Bank or Ireland to see if it was worthwhile. 

 

I am not particularly disciplined, but when an idea grabs me I pursue.  My most recent has been Best Buy and studying free cash flow production using a book and spreadsheet system developed by George Christy.  The book had sat for a year or more and I finally had an epiphany and got into it.  BBY only took a few hours, and is a piece of cake to analyze compared to those banks.  I figure in a year I study 30-40 companies in detail, and skim hundreds more.  Over 15 years that adds up to alot of companies.  Add to this my scanning reading of 3 hours or so everyday including this board, and thats alot of education.

 

I think you just need to know your personality.  I do everything in binges.  When I concentrate I work quickly then I go do something else.  Even Buffett does other things such as play bridge on a train for 10 days, or a barge in China.  Carl Icahn has been quoted as saying that he carefully reads 2 annual reports a week (obviously not BAC).  What's helpful is to download a bunch of reports and go somewhere with no cell signal or WIFI. 

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