Tuesday, May 09, 2006

How Do You Spell Relief?

Phew! Done! Well, almost done, I still have to add the citations and put together a reference page, proof it several times, add headers, footers, page numbers and a title page. Like I said – done. I have been putting off this research paper for a few weeks. Why? Well, unfortunately because I can. Yup, the gift that is a curse – two for the price of one. I can write pretty well and usually on demand. My research skills are adequate for the level of depth required and if I have access to an APA, MLA, APSA or whatever style guide to the format that a particular discipline uses, I can re-learn how to correctly format my paper and be done with it. Eight to ten hours spread over two to four days is usually sufficient.

The bad part is that because I don’t respond well unless there is some pressure, I waited – again – until there was some. A lot of words just to say procrastination, really. It is a terrible habit – even worse when left unchecked. Believe me, I know. True, there is a latent thrill of getting in just under the wire, but the pain of falling on my face if missed isn’t worth it. Ask me how I know.

So this term paper I’ve been putting off – wait, I can phrase it better… writing in my head, brainstorming… ya, that’s it – is due on Thursday morning. “But this is only Tuesday night” you say? True enough, and close enough. I don’t have to cut it so close today to get the motivation I need. However, it is apparent that if I’m given more time than necessary, one may rest assured it will not be done until near the deadline.

The point of all this is that for the last week to two weeks I have been stressing on it. Not so much writing it in my head, just stressing. I was experiencing real procrastination, the likes of which I haven’t felt in quite some time. I did not want to write this paper. I did not find it interesting; it was too vague, too narrow, too this and too that. Fortunately, the bigger picture kept my focus on what I needed to do and the positive aspect of being able to pull this stuff together quickly played its role. And now the rest I’ll put off until tomorrow.

Hey! What’s the rush?


Miranda said...

I know how hard it is to write about a topic you're not interested in. But two things got me through college (Not that you need advice from someone younger).
But, for what it's worth, here they are.

1)If I slacked, I never stressed. Procrastination is no good for you if you ruin it with worry. It's perfectly fine if you relax during your slacking time. Then you have energy stored up to write later.

2)If my topic was boring, I'd find a way to make the thesis interesting anyway. Find a way to make an interesting argument about a boring topic. Once something interests you, you'll have an easier time.

Good luck!

mckay said...

i am the ace procrastinator. i'll tell you about it sometime. not now.

hey, how's the life sans smoking going?


X said...

Ah, procrastination. The story of my life in university. I would actually procrastinate so much that I would pull an all nighter before and barely have the time to run a spell check (once I actually didn't....note to anyone who says they don't have the time: DO IT! You'll get bumped down a grade if not).

I know that it was because I worked well under pressure, and on the most part I would get better grades on papers I worked on in a day than ones I worked on over the span of two weeks (if I spell checked, of course). It was also because I was lazy - why do it today when I can put if off until tomorrow! :)

Hope you do well on the paper!

Helene said...

Ok so you came ONLY FOR THE STAIND????? hehehe nice!


Procrastination is a skill... you are just honing the skill (did I spell honing right? Spelling is a skill too and clearly I suck at it! lmao!)

Have a good day!

Sadie Lou said...

I hate the way procrastination makes me feel.
I try to make myself do those tasks that I tend to put off just so that I can experience the relief of getting it over with.
Like paying bills or getting the cars registered.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

LOL! Yeah...I find myself that sometimes I write better or something, under pressure as in Down To The Wire. And the more time I have, the more I kind of tinker and edit and such....Not a bad thing, but sometimes it's better if I'm given a last minute assignment, so to speak...It sounds like you are so,ewhat the same Mike. I get it!

Michael K. Althouse said...

miranda ~ thans for stopping by! I like your first point...

Procrastination is no good for you if you ruin it with worry.

Gotta live it!

mckay ~ I can hardly wait! Smoking? Well here's an area where procrastination is working in my favor. Haven't smoked in 33 days... maybe tomorrow.;'-)

oilf ~ I knew you'd understand.;-')

kate ~ so your're saying its a gift that needs to be nutured?? I can live with that!

sadie lou ~ wouldn't it be nice if you could just ignore those things they would just go away? I tried it with speeding tickets and they didn't go away... I did.;-')

ooloth ~ I hate to admit it, but it is true that I do better work under pressure - even if it is self created.


Ellen said...

I found it hilarious that you could quantify it by saying that you were "brainstorming on it in your head". That's a common practice amongst all procrastinators,(including me, and thanks for explaining it so well!) and technically they are entirely right.... if only those papers could just find a way to write themselves, huh?

What was the paper about?

Michael K. Althouse said...

My math must be taking a back seat to all this writing lately... It's been 48 days - not 33 that I have been procrasting that next cigarette. Mt second error today!


Michael K. Althouse said...

ellen ~ you mean they won't write themselves!! Dammit!;-')

It was about the president's ability to influence public opinion and how that approval rating data from Carter to Bush II right before and after their State of the Union addresses don't usually show this to be true. The hypothesis is that if true, then the premeir media event for any president ought to produce positive results. The data shows that at the very least, there are other factors to consider.

see, borring!


The Zombieslayer said...

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

From experience, once I start the first word, other words come. Just start on it.

Biker Betty said...

Everyone has said what I feel about the subject of procrastination. I love what Miranda said. I will definitely put that to heart. Procrastination is my middle name and my husband is just the opposite. The way I do things just drives him crazy (lol). I'm reading this the night before your paper is due and wishing you the best of luck that you're not stressing at this moment.

Good luck on your paper, Betty :)

CyberKitten said...

I know what you mean. I did a University Course recently after MANY years out of formal education. Its difficult to get back into the flow of things - and I work best under pressure too.

I was rushing to finish my final paper untill I was told it didn't need to be in until September (rather than June as I thought) so what did I do.... RELAX of course.....

Hope it all went/goes well. Good luck with it.