I used to have a boss who always used the phrase "displacement activity". She said that's what she called everything she did except for what she was supposed to be doing.
I dunno, I used to call it procrastination, but I had to admit "displacement activity" sounded better, more positive, reinforcing if you will.
She was of German heritage and the German phrase for displacement activity is Übersprungshandlung. Wow, a displacement activity might be just to spell that!
When you think about it, displacement activity is kind of like Attention Deficit Disorder for adults. But it's self-directed and you don't have to take drugs for it.
For example, over the last two days I've done everything but sit down to write this post. And I filled the time with displacement activities - one after another.
I made myself breakfast and showered. I paid bills. I watched the French Open. I cleaned the pool. I read a magazine. I visited a bunch of blogs. I trimmed my nose hairs. And I undertook a few other activities of lesser consequence. (After all, nose hair grooming is pretty important.)
So, here I am after a day and-a-half of displacement activity and...
...wow my toe nails are getting long.