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Jeruba's avatar

What have you accomplished by putting off something else?

Asked by Jeruba (52242points) December 1st, 2020

Sometimes the urge to procrastinate on some noisome task or responsibility leads to doing something else less aversive that we’ve been putting off.

I might stall on a household chore I detest by doing something else instead, such as folding a pile of laundry before cleaning the toilet, or paying a bunch of bills instead of scrubbing the stovetop.

My husband used to call this “accomplishment by avoidance.”

Does it work that way for you, or do you just cheerfully dive into the tough stuff and get it out of the way?

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17 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

“Accomplishment by avoidance” is my new favorite term. And describes my procrastination method perfectly. I am outstanding at getting eight kind of annoying things done to avoid one BIG annoying thing.
We are sisters under the skin, you and I, @Jeruba. :-)

And I did a spackle repair to avoid toilet cleaning today.

janbb's avatar

@canidmajor I’ll clean your toilet if you’ll do my spackling job! And yes, that is my general modus operandi. Making phone calls to service providers is something I avoid like the plague (oops – guess we can’t say that any more.)

Jeruba's avatar

Ugh, service providers. “Your wait time…is approximately…forty-eight…minutes.” I’ll bet not making calls like that costs me several hundred dollars a month for I don’t even know what.

It’s nice to be in such good company with you two, though. Let’s have tea, shall we?

The only thing I dislike about the phrase “accomplishment by avoidance” is that it’s eight syllables. That’s too many. Three would be about right.

canidmajor's avatar

Ha! You’re used to it. I like it because the phrase itself sounds like an accomplishment.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba I had tea and a scone with clotted cream and jam by my fireplace today. Would love to have you and @canidmajor with me!

How about this phrase instead, “swallowing smaller frogs”? The allusion comes from a motivational speaker I heard once. He said, “If you have to swallow several frogs in your day, swallow the biggest one first!”

chyna's avatar

Why does clotted cream sound like something that should be thrown out?

janbb's avatar

@chyna It does sound yucky but it isn’t. Think of really thick whipping cream that is unsweetened. Or unsour sour cream. Not exactly the same but sorta.

doyendroll's avatar

You are an inspiration, a muse, and a mentor.

I plan to pan a spanakopita with bacon,bacon and bacon but I’ve been eschewing it over and over.

I’m also tempted to go and buy a couple of mystery bags for ron.

I shall have my cake and eat it too and make that filo bake.

misfit's avatar

Peace of mind.

Edit, I answered the wrong question. Sorry.

Jeruba's avatar

@misfit, actually that sounds like a very interesting—and apt—answer for this question.

JLeslie's avatar

I like this way of looking at procrastination.

Lately, my accomplishments while avoiding have been making doctor appointments, cleaning the patio doors and furniture, and making grocery lists. The grocery lists are actually adding items to my Walmart curbside pick up.

Edit: I thought of another term—productive procrastination.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are instances when delaying a particular unpleasantness might work to your advantage. It’s happened for me more than once.

canidmajor's avatar

And today’s “accomplishment by avoidance” will be getting the kitchen herb garden set up with the grow lights instead of cleaning.

janbb's avatar

@canidmajor That’s a nice accomplishment!

janbb's avatar

Is there a special term for the things you got done because you had to put your book down when you got to a disturbing part?

longgone's avatar

Today, I put off laundry and purchased a bunch of decorations instead. I feel just fine about that.

canidmajor's avatar

Today I cooked two batches of food, portioned them and into the freezer, then I did three small sewing tasks, all to avoid taking apart a decorative thing and replacing the broken bits, and replacing stuff. This will not be an onerous task, I’ve just been putting it off.

I got to use your term, “avoidance accomplishment”, in conversation. It made me very happy.

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