Sleeping Under Enon

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Tag Archives: procrastination

Committing To Getting Things Done

So I’ve been messing around with the theme again because that signifies something productive and perhaps some kind of commitment to writing something somewhere down the line. Or I’m listening to Thrice and procrastinating.

What’s frustrating about this kind of mindset is that it’s very difficult to shift, despite proving, time and time again, to be a great fucking waste of everyone involved’s time. When has starting anew ever worked? Take New Year’s resolutions. They’re stuck to precisely no percent of the time.

‘This year I’ll actually do something! ……Oh wait, no I won’t. I’ll feel vaguely productive for, oh I don’t know, a few hours or so, and come to realise that meticulously going through my ludicrously large music collection making sure each artist is correctly tagged (should Alcest be ‘post metal’ or post black metal’? Or should that be ‘post-metal’?) is what I’ll actually end up doing instead of reading something useful. Fuckstickles, I hate my life’

Rinse & repeat.

The (empirical) evidence suggests that you’re much more likely to make changes and stick to them if you do it gradually. So, instead of quitting Skyrim (seriously, help me) like every smoker sort-of commits to maybe cutting down every New Year, I should gradually try and reduce the amount of times I wake up and think ‘Oh, I’ll just do a few quests to wake me up and get me in the mood to work’ (seriously, what kind of fucking idiot must I be to think this might make sense?!). The problem with this is, and I can’t stress this enough, that it involves having a schedule, however wishy-washy it might be. I’ve tried having schedules, I really have. Well, I made an account on Wunderlist, and if that doesn’t indicate the presence of a serious work ethic, I don’t know what does. I keep getting emails from that site, light-heartedly rubbing in my face that I’ve missed every single deadline I tried setting. But Wunderlist doesn’t realise that I am the master of reasoning myself out of my own deadlines. Sure, giving myself a few days to make a phone call to the council so I can sort out my council tax gives me way more time than is necessary, and –in fact– any reasonable person would have just phoned them instead of going on to a website and making a task out of it, but what I forgot to factor in was that the council are a bunch of totally incompetent, utter, utter cunts, and that the process of phoning & dealing with them is akin to repeatedly smashing one’s bollocks with a hammer [1]. So I’ll give myself an extra month to psyche myself up to it (it’s only fair).

I’m a serial last-minuter. If it isn’t the night before the deadline, I probably won’t think about doing it. Actually, that’s not true. I will think about doing it. I’ll think about doing it a whole lot, and I’ll get right on to it just after this cup of coffee. Whilst I’m drinking that coffee I might just check Diaspora or Google+. Oh and have a peek at imgur whilst I’m at it. OK now I’m ready to…. oh hold on, it’s 11 at night, well I can’t do any work now. That would be irresponsible (? [2]). It would be much more sensible to relax now, write this day off as a no-show and get up early tomorrow, start work as soon as I get up and have an extremely productive day. In fact, it’ll be so productive I’ll have a guilt-free porn fest in the evening as a reward for all the hard work I’ve done. To be fair, between those two things (work and porn fest), one of those will definitely happen (no prizes for guessing which). So Wunderlist, Evernote, Google Docs and the myriad of other things I don’t end up using have provably helped me get my work done. I would (/should) get really quite angry about this, but this is pretty much a daily thing, and is as effective as Cnut’s attempts at tide-taming.

The only thing that makes me feel vaguely OK about this ‘way of life’ is that I’m not alone in living it (actually, if you read this and can’t relate to it on any level, I hate you and all that you stand for). I know professional academics who, the night before, are busy finishing their paper for the conference the next day (the night before I was supposed to give a talk at my first conference -which was early in the morning, mind-  I got blind drunk, I don’t recommend doing this because you, unlike me, are not a champion). I’m confident that if I applied myself all the time and worked as hard as was physically possible, I could achieve quite a bit. As it happens, I don’t; I just have to figure out who or what to blame for this (and at some point down the line, I may or may not post a rant about how it’s moronic to medicalise every single behaviour ever).

‘Oh sure, he didn’t work as hard as he could, but he had super-serious chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s a miracle he did anything at all. We should get round to building a statue in his honour.’ -I imagine this is probably what will happen when I die, that is, once the ground has stopped splitting, the skies have stopped roaring with thunder and the entire animal kingdom has stopped mourning.

Now, I’m off to make a coffee and get some work done.

[1] If I was copy-editing this article, I would rage about the length of that sentence. But I’m not. So I won’t.

[2] OK, I should probably point out that for any normal person with a normal sleeping pattern, this would be fairly decent advice. I, however, do not have a normal sleeping pattern; I will probably be up for another 4 hours or more, which is more than enough time to get some work done.

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