So I am a terrible procrastinator, despite having used GTD in some incarnation for over six years now. I'm a graduate student, and so much of my work is doled out in long-term projects that, while I easily use GTD to identify NAs on, I still end up putting off until the last minute. I spend the last day or so before a deadline frantically pulling things together, often writing 20-page papers in under 24 hours.
I realized last night as I got all of three hours' sleep before turning in a qualifying paper that, while probably admissible, certainly wasn't my best work, why I keep putting it off. I remembered David's analogy about creative people being very imaginative, and realized that my procrastination is begetting itself. When I put off the tasks associated with writing a paper, the last twenty-four hours are filled with incredible stress and pain and self-loathing. So I've programmed my brain that paper-writing is filled with incredible stress, pain, and self-loathing, so when I look at my NA list, the LAST thing my subconscious wants to do is start subjecting myself to those emotions any earlier than necessary. It now makes perfect sense to me why I've continued the same academic habits I've had since junior high school.
However, seeing as I intend to make a career out of this kind of work (and, frankly am getting too old for these shenanigans--coffee just doesn't work as well as it did when I was 20!), obviously staying up all night every time I have a project to finish is a somewhat untenable solution. Does anyone have any really good suggestions to re-train my subconscious to get moving on the NAs I've already identified?