Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Procrastination Station.

I have a long and not-so-proud legacy of being a procrastinator.  In high school, I remember a lot of panicked late nights trying to finish U.S. History IDs or Calculus homework (the latter of which will go down in my mind as THE WORST HOMEWORK EVER).  The only thing I probably did in advance of due dates was memorizing lines for plays and songs for musicals and chorus.  I still have nightmares involving not knowing my lines, songs, or dances for a show.  I haven't performed in over two years!

Summer iced tea.
The last two weeks have been a blur of finishing things that I've had MONTHS of free time to finish.  I am writing some encyclopedia articles for an online encyclopedia one of my professors is helping to edit.  I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to put some publication credits on my CV, and I'm also getting paid.  However, something held me back from starting these articles until July started.  Maybe I was afraid because I hadn't written something like that before.  Perhaps I felt like I wasn't the right person to compose some of the articles.  I'm not sure, but the experience has definitely resulted in some introspection.

Working smarter, not harder.
I'm ALWAYS happier when I got something done in advance.  Never have I regretted getting something done early enough to let me edit, revise, and maybe even turn it in before the due date.  As a M.A. student, I did this all the time, partly because I was unhappy and during the week, had little else to do but read and write.  I need to remember both the panic of waiting until the last minute AND the relief of having things completed on-time and without rush.  I used to believe that I produced better work when I waited, but I now know that is absolutely not the case.  The work I produced under the gun was good enough.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to undergrad (for a lot of reasons, but this is a big one) just to tell myself to work a little smarter.  Read for philosophy class.  Read in advance so I could have pre-class discussions with my very bright classmates.  I squandered some of the opportunities of being in the honors program, in that I didn't always connect enough with my classmates about the amazing ideas we were being exposed to.

Taking more time to appreciate beautiful things.
I'm very thankful that next week is our family vacation.  I will have a week to spend with my in-laws, my little family, and perhaps even my sister and her boyfriend.  After that, I have another week before anything school related starts.  I'm going to get my hair done.  I'm going to indulge in a pedicure with some of my grad school lady friends.  I'm going to host a play-date and do crafts with Elliott and his friends.  I need to be able to hit the ground running once school begins again, but I can't do that without a little decompression.

What lessons have you learned from procrastinating (or, if you are like my sister, from NOT procrastinating)?

- M.