Just when you think you have explored every facet of procrastination possible, you find new dimension heretofore unthinkable. Today, I have managed to not only procrastinate on the tasks that I should be doing, but also on the tasks that I was using as my tools of procrastination.
Normally, I’m very good at what I call “productive procrastination.” Perhaps you know of this method? You have a very large job to do, but manage to find five hundred other jobs that you can do instead.
For instance, my apartment was impeccably clean when I wrote my master’s thesis. To show that I had advanced to the level of a doctoral student, I managed to learn to belly dance, swing dance, zydeco dance, complete two internships, spend a summer in New York, volunteer at Planned Parenthood and the women’s center, and become an active member of the campus chapter of NOW, along with keeping an impeccably clean apartment while allegedly writing my doctoral dissertation. If I need to get my oil changed, clean out the closet, run sundry errands, I can usually check these off of my “to do” list when I should be grading. Heck, you could even say that I procrastinated on a teaching career by getting a library science degree, and procrastinate on writing by teaching, and teaching by writing. In any case,I may not get that one big task done in a timely fashion, but at least I can say that I got all of these other little things done in the meantime.
Today, I really should have gone into the office and finished my teaching portfolio, or put together my proposal for honor’s sections of two classes, or began my syllabi for the spring semester. In fact, I fully and honestly intended to do that. Eventually. First, I wanted to strip this one tiny, little section of that fireplace surround. But the cold – oh, my god, with the wind – was about to take the skin off of my face. (Did you know that gel could freeze? I didn’t. My porch is so cold that the gel stripper freezes before it can dissolve the paint.)
My little delay prevented, I headed for the shower to begin to get ready, fully intending to go directly into the office. But first, since I was headed in the general direction of the hall closet, I might as well stow these framing projects scattered around the living room. If a huge, nasty mess graces the balcony, then the apartment itself should at least be neat; and the stowing would not take too long. Except, in the middle of stowing the framing crap, I realized that I hadn’t given myself a facial in a couple of weeks.
By “facial,” I mean that mud stuff that dries up on your face and supposedly removes oil and dirt (I never got why plastering “mud” on your face was supposed to clean it, but I have been brainwashed by the beauty industry). I could put that crap on and let it dry while I pick up the framing crap. Then, I could get into the shower, wash it off, get dressed, and go to the office.
While waiting for the mud crap to dry, while picking up the framing crap, I realized that maybe I could be actually productive in terms of work by grading some of my fall online class’s finals that have dribbled in along with their final papers. Since the software for the class is so slow, and since all of their papers are online, I realized that I could split my efforts by picking up the framing stuff while the software loads and reloads, all while waiting for the mud to dry. So I loaded up the class software, then went back to the framing mess, with the mud drying on my face.
At which point, I realized that, once I had concentrated most of the framing mess into one place in the living room, I could get to the wall and find the stud on which I could hang that big ole mirror. Then, I could hang the mirror, put away the framing stuff, grade the online papers and finals, and wash off the mud crap.
Since the mud crap had dried and begun to itch, I started with that. In the bathroom, however, I realized that I could not remember if I had taken my vitamins and meds (actually it is just one med). One of those days of the week pill boxes could solve that problem; and -- what do you know? -- I have one, which meant that I had to go dig it out of the hall closet before I forgot about it. Then I could wash the itchy mud crap off and fill the pill box. Once I had filled the pill box, however, I realized that I now had to stash the pill bottles somewhere. This meant a cleaning of the medicine cabinet.
In the middle of cleaning out the medicine cabinet, I remembered the grading. The software for the class would be loaded, so I could just run into my office and go to the appropriate section. The appropriate section would take a few minutes to load, which meant that I could get something else done in the meantime; but on my way to my computer I passed framing mess.
The framing mess distracted me momentarily until I went to put something into the hall closet. I would need to make a space for the framing crap, but first, back to the grading crap to see if the page loaded.
It had. So, as long as I was there at the computer, I might as well begin; but, when I sat down to grade, I thought that perhaps I might get a touch of that stripping (without a pole) done. I would just put a dollop of stripper on a shielded patche where it might could pull up some paint before freezing.
While dabbing on the stripper, I thought that maybe, before the frostbite set in, I might sand, just a bit, to see if one of my strategies for finishing the job might work. Sanding a tiny place might only take a minute; but the sandpaper was inside, next to the framing mess.
Well, you can see how the day went. I procrastinated on my procrastination, and then procrastinated on that, and on that, too.
I did get the mud off. I did get the online class graded, although that is cold comfort since about half of their finals still haven’t arrived in the mail. I did find the stud in the wall (one of Poe’s lesser-known pornographic pieces – I’ll stop with the bad puns now). I did get half of the framing mess cleaned up. I did get the pills into their days of the week pillbox, and the bottles into the newly neat medicine cabinet. I did take off a little bit more of that paint, too. Heck, I even wrote this blog post. But did I get to the office?
Now, I have to find new procrastination tasks because I’m planning on going to the gym a little later; or, maybe, I should use the gym to procrastinate on something else!