Maybe I’ll Stop Procrastinating Next Week

Last year, when I finally worked up the courage to ask my boss (or rather got sick of thinking about doing do so and decided I just had to do it because the worst outcome would be he would say no and then I would have to come up with something else to get obsessed about or think more seriously about resigning) if I could work a four-day week, rather than a five day week, I thought that I would spend my Fridays off in blissful creative mood – writing, making things (travel scrap book, cards, decoupage, etc) – and/or personal development jives – reading more legal theory (I miss it, I really do), teaching myself to read/write and speak better Viet, refreshen my Latin, learn a new language.

Instead, of a Friday morning I procrastinate.  First, I check my email.  Then I check Google Reader (actually, I check email and Google Reader simultaneously because igoogle* is great like that).  Then I check Facebook.  Then I check anything else at all really, based on what has spun me off in that direction.  (This morning, if you’re curious, I checked new judgments on the High Court of Australia website*, because I was sent there by a Tweet* by Galaxy* (whom I follow) who was responding to a Tweet* by TimSterne* (whom I don’t follow).)  Then I got a cup of tea.  Now, with cup of tea beside me, I am writing this blog post.

It occurred to me that if I can persuade myself that on Mondays to Thursdays I am procrastinating from writing or other creative junkets, onFriday I might actually knuckle down and do what Fridays were originally slated for (although they are also slated for long weekends away, because my partner gets more generous holiday entitlement than me).

Usually on Mondays through to Thursdays I think about all the things I want to do on Fridays.  Then on Fridays, I wake up and think, I want to sleep more.  I want to cycle around the world.  I should call my parents.  I should clean the house.  Gee the oven hasn’t been scrubbed out in ages.  How long will I need to cycle round the world? The worst part is: I think about work.

So what I need to do on Monday is think, Today I will write and then I will probably want to work to procrastinate from that.  And at some point I can think oh, I’ll do it tomorrow and if I can keep that up for four days, I will be feeling so guilty by the time Friday rolls around that I will do creative stuff and not other procrastinatory stuff.

Yes, tricking oneself really does work.  Not.

Or I need to implement a punishment and reward system, like I had back when I was a student.  Sadly, I think I am more motivated by the stick of punishment rather than the carrot of reward.  As a student, I could say Um is making banh xeo this weekend and unless I finish the first draft of this essay, I will have to call her and tell her I can’t come over.  The fear of my parents being unhappy that I did not visit them enough and the fact that I would not get to eat banh xeo would mean I had motivation to finish that first draft, and sometimes even a second draft.

*I’m not doing any links in this post because I’m trying to just write this as my short bit of procrastination and then get down to doing some creative writing.

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7 Comments

  1. Aaaah don’t be too hard on yourself. I think our best intentions rarely strike gold… getting 1/2 way is pretty good! You could probably let the oven stay dirty 🙂

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  2. OK, I give up – I can’t find you on Twitter. As one of the worst procrastinators in the world, I hope you find a way through yours 🙂 I have been dreaming lately about having extra days/finding extra time to be in that creative mode – was listening to a friend telling me all the reasons she’s going from private practice to government/in house work and feeling very envious (flexi-time, aaaaah).

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  3. hehe. i’ve learnt that if i want to do something i have to commit myself waaayyy in advance. and that i shouldn’t touch the internet. once i’m on the internet, we might as well say it’s over. =(

    maybe you could try establishing a new routine for fridays. don’t treat it like a free day, but a day to do x, y and z. set a time to get up and things to do so you feel like you’re working (albeit for yourself). i find that it’s easier once you plough into something for awhile. by then you’re actually excited about what you’re doing and it’s easier.

    and i like the smile face you put at the bottom of the page. =)

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  4. Also – if you haven’t already read it, I think Emma Darwin’s blog would be something you’d enjoy – emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting

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  5. So…. how’s the procrastination going?

    To answer your question about the Carrizo Plains flowers, I didn’t know any of the names, but my friend tells me the pink pompom ones are owl’s clover, the tall blue ones in the wind are blue dicks, the clustery blue/lavender ones (there are several) are lupines and tansy and larkspur, the orange crook-necked ones are fiddlenecks, the golden yellow ones are goldfield, the yellow one with white edges is tidy tips, and that dainty white one with the lady bug looks to me like flax.

    Also, this link has some flowers identified – many of which I didn’t see during my visit.

    http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bakersfield/Programs/carrizo/sightseeing.html

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  6. You’re the second person I’ve had contact with this year (would have said “met” except we haven’t) who knows Latin. There’s a woman from my son’s playgroup who studied Latin – she was from Melbourne and told me there were only a few universities in Australia where one could study Latin! Whereas in England, everyone in Grammar schools had to study Latin – thus my sister knows Latin too.

    Hope you got some writing done. I was going to try and get something down this morning while my son is at his grandparents, but one blog led to another…and then another…and then…. the washing, the funny smells coming out of my son’s room…

    I find it easier to write at uni where they’ve given me an office space. Before they gave me the space, I did my paid work at the same desk and would get distracted by the stack of work in front of me… I think if I didn’t get that space, I would have cleared a space somewhere else in the house as a writing space.

    What’s your writing space like?

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  7. LW

    I did let the oven stay dirty 😀

    I think I need to be harder on myself, actually. I give myself too much slack for not doing enough…

    Celia

    I’m not actually on Twitter. Although I’ve been thinking about it. I follow via RSS.

    Worst procrastinator or best? ‘Cos if you were the worst, that would mean you did not procrastinate at all!

    And finding me another blog to read does not help. (Though I have seen ED’s blog before, possibly linked through you.)

    nt

    I do have a Friday schedule. I just fail to stick to it!
    Yes, me and the internet is also a danger …

    nikkipolani

    Procrastination goes very well, thank you!

    Thank you for dropping by with the names of those flowers. I love learning wildflower names so I’ll have a nice rummage around that link, even though I usually like to name them myself. Rather a lot of flowers, however, end up with names like: weird alien flower, purple star flower, white and yellow star flower etc.

    strongcoffeeplease

    Alas, my writing space is inside my head. Although my house is pretty tidy, so usually I clear the dining table and that becomes my writing space. One day, I will have a lovely, light-filled and airy study where my thoughts and ideas will soar as high as the vaulted ceiling… Or I’ll just keep imagining it!

    Ah, the Latin… I once completely freaked out another law student because I was just so excited that he also had studied Latin. We’re not as rare in breed in Aus as you would expect. A surprising number of students take first year uni Latin courses – and then all leave again after first semester. I think most of the sandstone unis have Latin courses. And it was offered as an optional, extra-curricular subject by my high school (inner city, selective state school, etc).

    Reply

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