I always find it fascinating how well I manage to get side-tracked when it comes to my writing. It never feels bad initially, because it is contributing to my knowledge of a subject and thus, making me a better writer, but I am amazed nonetheless.
Take for example my efforts are re-writing/inserting Chapter 31 of Flight, a novel. I decided I needed a scene where two of the principle characters are coming to some kind of reconciliation and then spent an hour trying to figure out how to make it happen.
I said to myself, How should I present this scene? So, I figured a board game between them. At first it was Battleship, since they would be facing one another, but then I was like, “Would people their age even play that? Do they even make that game anymore?” and then went researching to find a decent board game they could play. When I was about to give up and settle for Jenga, I found Othello. It sounded like an interesting game with all its various stratagem, but I did not know how to play and I cannot think of anything more humiliating than to spend hours writing about something about which you know very little, only to realize that you got everything wrong and sound like an idiot, even if the prose is magnificent.
So, to Wikipedia I went and ended up spending the rest of the night playing game over and over and over again. I did not get anymore writing done for the rest of the night, but by the time I had left work (all these revelations came to me at work), I had a rather firm grasp of the game for a beginner.
Another instance of this same issue was when I was working on my Harry Potter fanfiction. I decided it would be best to have an understanding of how streets intersected in the areas I had them going and found myself, hours later, becoming so mesmerized by the River Thames that I just zoomed in on Google Maps and followed the river from its mouth to as far as I could follow during the rest of my shift (again, hard at work).
I mention this as mostly a memoir to myself when I look back and think about my levels of procrastination. I remember a long time ago talking to my roommates in the dorms about how beneficial procrastination always seemed like a good thing, like going for a run or cleaning instead of studying. While it feels like something is being accomplished, the main goal still goes unrealized.