Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Pile-Up

I procrastinate. I don't mean to, but I do. And with some things it's more disastrous than others. (This is only slightly inspired today by it being the 14th of April - and no, my taxes aren't quite done. The federal ones are, but the state ones apparently require more forms than I have in my possession. Yet.) So this isn't about missed deadlines and that sort of thing. Rather it's about the perceived weight of expectations that seems to build up the longer I put something off.

On the one hand, you'd think I'd have learned by now that simply putting something off does not magically get it done. Never once has anything I've ever been working on ever finished itself while I was studiously ignoring it. Quite the opposite, I tend to have ideas about what else to do with projects even when I am deliberately trying to ignore them. While there may be, according to folklore, little elves that help cobblers, they are apparently illiterate elves. Or else I need to be writing on wooden tablets or something. I don't know, other than they aren't appearing to help me.

Perversely, the more I put things off the worse they seem. It works almost exponentially, where the more I put something off, the harder it becomes to go back to it. Inevitably - and this is also something you'd think I'd have learned by now - it's never as bad as it seems when I finally do get to it. In fact, in most cases it works much better than anticipated, and the ideas flow and things get put down on paper (or the digital equivalent thereof), and suddenly those days of avoidance seem as wasted as they really were.

And yet
, I do it anyway. Constantly, with all sorts of things. I can make deadlines, don't get me wrong, but in the holdover from my college days this seems to mean doing them at the last moment. Perhaps part of the problem is that I almost always pull it off anyway, and know in the back of my head just how long I can wait to accomplish something on deadline. Though, again, that's an "almost" always, so those times when I haven't made deadline should have taught me not to wait so long.

For those things without deadline, I can seemingly procrastinate endlessly, leaving them gathering digital dust in their various folders. Even those have a deadline of sorts, because eventually they either have to be finished or I will have to give up on the ideas ever becoming a published story. Which seems a waste after all that effort put into them.

Even if for some of them it's mostly been effort ignoring them lately.

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