Stop putting it off

There is a great article by Mary McKinney in Inside Higher Ed with advice about getting out of a procrastination funk (via Daniel Drezner).

General Norman Schwartzkopf once said, "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."
How true. And while wallowing in guilt at my own delay, my mind wandered to the many academics who go AWOL. I thought about graduate students who avoid campus to hide out from advisors, the professors who leave advisee e-mail unanswered, the peer reviewers who neglect reading manuscripts they've agreed to referee, the research collaborators who delay returning phone calls, and the purported authors of book chapters who ignore frantic pleas from colleagues compiling edited volumes. AWOL academics are rampant. Late manuscripts are endemic.
These disappearing acts lead to pernicious cycles. The longer you are out of touch with someone, the more difficult it feels to resume contact. The more you worry about resuming contact, the higher your standards become for the promised project.

There are several steps of advice, and the first three are very good:

1. Realize that your absence weighs heavier on your mind than the other person's. Advisors are not losing sleep over late dissertation proposals and journal editors aren't agonizing over missing manuscripts. The project is more important to you than anyone else.
2. Remember, when you do get in touch, the person is unlikely to be angry and punitive. We tend to be much harsher about our own tardiness than we are about other people's delays. Advisors know it is difficult to write dissertation drafts. Journal editors are accustomed to academics who take a long time to turn around R&R manuscripts.
3. Lower rather than raise your standards when you're running late. Don't try to make your work more polished to make up for taking so long. Just try to get something sent out for feedback. End the cycle by chanting to yourself "A done dissertation is a good dissertation" or "A published paper is the only paper that counts."

Believe me, I have nobody in mind while posting this! Not even myself. Oh, wait...