Down to the wire…

I used to be a terrible procrastinator. Any excuse to not do something today was good enough, though the excuse was usually TV or some variant of screen watching. I would push aside most things that weren’t an immediate need until the last minute.

Anything with a deadline resulted in a flurry of rushed work. Essays that were started in the evening were finished just before I walked out the door to school in the morning. Personal projects were left undone. Cleaning simply wasn’t done (because who likes cleaning?).

This period covered most of my teenage years and continued into my very early 20’s. Part of my lack of urgency could be attributed to the fact that none of these tasks seemed to weigh very heavily on me. I might not have produced great work during an all-nighter, but it was still good, and my marks at school were positive. Since I lived at home, cleaning seemed to get done (by someone else who probably also didn’t like it). In my dashing youth, even the stress of working so furiously at the last minute was easy to recover from.

With lots of support I had little reason to change, and so my habit continued and flourished.

And then something strange and magical happened… I lost the ability to be bored.

This wasn’t a flat out overnight change. It came about during a profound shift in my experience of life which spanned a few years. But essentially I realised one day that I had some degree of interest in just about everything. How would I ever be able to choose what to do?

In my youthful ignorance I decided not to choose and just do everything that catches my interest. I’m still in the waning days of this stage, with the reality of limited resources catching up quickly. Long days have lead into long nights and I don’t recover quite as quickly from lack of sleep.

Perhaps my most interesting observation is the timeframe it takes me to complete a task. No longer do I procrastinate at length… if I’m given a task with a deadline I’m often in feet first. But I still find myself at the last minute struggling to get done on time. While I start early, I manage to spend a lot longer in the doing, and it’s arguable as to whether I’m getting more done than if I had started late.

Perhaps my work is better thought out, planned, and executed, but I’m a little doubtful at this stage. So far it just looks like I’ve stretched it out over time.

I’m hoping the elastic won’t snap me back to where to where I started…

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2 Responses to “Down to the wire…”

  1. A. Diminie says:

    Wow, my sentiments exactly. I just spent an ENTIRE evening writing a journal entry worth a third of 5%. Midterms are looming and I’m more than a little concerned about my ability to complete something in a “reasonable” amount of time. We must work smarter my friend. Also, more sleep, less computer.


  2. sean says:

    Yes, working smarter is a big part of it. There’s a whole culture around managing the intrusion of this quick world’s demands. It’s called Getting Things Done, or GTD for short.

    More life… less computer…

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