What is the difference between depression and procrastination?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

This sounds like depression:

You are too old to learn, they said. At your age it is impossible to change behavioral patterns, they concluded. “They” being these voices I have been hearing in my head lately — a side-effect of the isolation that comes with being a slave to/freelancer on the Internet.

A couple of days ago I would have agreed. Honestly, I would have agreed to anything. I felt done. Depressed. If somebody would have told me that I would never be hired again and I would have to live under a bridge, I would have agreed to that too. It didn’t matter, because I had already given up.

Whenever I feel dramatic like that I fall back on movie-behavior.

I would be sitting in my living room feeling extremely sorry for myself and I would transition into a movie cliché from a Western or Good-Cop-With-Issues film. I would, for example, sit in my kitchen, a bottle of whiskey and a glass in front of me. I would flick the cap off with my thumb – pause for a moment – then ignoring the glass — drink straight from the bottle while looking at photographs from a happier past.

However, I only have a bottle of Dooley’s, which is a cream liqueur that tastes like toffee, that I bought in 2004 — and there are no photos of me to look at, because I don’t like people, so why would I look at one on a photo? Makes no sense, but I don’t care.

It is actually very difficult to reenact a random movie cliché. I don’t have a bath tub, so razor blades and/or hairdryers are not an option, there are no dangerous pills in shady looking brown plastic bottles (pill strips are really an anti-climax in that regard) and I don’t seem to have any decent rope — or the correct infrastructure (beam) for that matter – to really get into character.

Not that I would ever off myself. I’m way too self-absorbed for that. I just want to feel super sorry for myself so I can feel validated for being so depressed about … not being productive at work.

When you read that out loud it sounds very silly. Maybe the voices are right.

I really need to learn to filter myself. The topic of this post is supposed to be “hurray, I accomplished something”.

It is kind of interesting though. When you read the text before this paragraph then you would probably not understand why I would feel the way that I am describing. Maybe you’re flipping me a virtual finger. Maybe a real one.

Trust me, the hell is real. I feel like I am in a prison 24/7. I look outside and I wish I could be that person in his car or that person jogging. It is like I am chained to my house. It is impossible for me to leave. In my head I have this (unrealistic) idea that when I build a successful application that everything will suddenly be OK.

Here is an alternate theory:

Forget what most here are saying about Adult ADHD, ADD or whatever fancy schmancy TLA is this era’s Mental Illness Du Jour.

You, my friend, are suffering from Procrastination.

You have the idea – but you’re putting SO MANY barriers in front of implementing that idea. You’re finding excuses NOT to just sit down and write code. You’re procrastinating.

I know this because I too am guilty of it – been guilty of it all this week in fact. I have an application to write for a business client – it’s Wednesday already and I’m still “thinking over it”. I should get started on it, preferably before this week is over.

Listen. Forget TDD. Especially if you’re a team of 1. Just sit down, decide on an IDE – vim will do, even! – and start writing Code That Does Something for your idea. Got stuck? Google for “how do I ?”, see how to do it, then write the Code That Does Something.

“But, the TESTS!” – here’s my method of development (as I’m on a team of 1) : A) Write the Code That Does Something. B) Run it and see if it Does What You Wanted It To Do. If it does, great, carry on. If not, sort that bit out until it does. Then carry on.
Oh and stop procrastinating.

And this sounds like obsessive compulsive meandering:

I’m a self-taught developer and I have always been proud of all the stuff I have learned along the way. The list probably looks familiar to most of you.

ASP (Classic)
Ruby on Rails
I make money freelancing for local businesses and accepting jobs on Elance. I will say I make decent money doing that, but it has never been the end-goal. I feel like I’m Mario and I’m simply picking up coins, cleaning tubes and kicking around turtles. Nothing satisfying.

Until recently I was productive. I still spent a good chunk of my time learning new programming languages and techniques by reading tutorials, watching Pluralsight- and Lynda videos, cloning repos and reading books.

I could afford spending that time, because I have no life beyond my computer and so I had a few extra hours to splash around.

Here is probably something you can relate to. I have tons and tons of ideas for mobile apps, web applications and the next angry animal game. It is those same ideas that are currently sending me into a deep dark place. I wouldn’t even call it depression, because I have battled depression and this is a totally different beast.

Let me walk you through a typical week for me.

It starts out in the weekend (I have no clue why I still call it weekend, because there are weeks I don’t even dress myself, let alone keep track of what day it is). It’s normal for me to be all pumped and hyped because I came up with yet another YCombinator-will-totally-fund-me-app — or an improvement on an existing multi-billion app that I will overshadow with my awesomeness (preferably before the summer so I can use the money to buy myself some fun and sunshine).

I go into this weird mental cycle that ends with me getting so excited that I get teary-eyed and give myself goosebumps.

So first things first, I need a domain name right? Thus I visit expireddomains.net, filter on my keyword, sort by size and pick the first cool-looking name I can find.