Saturday, April 2, 2011

PTSD: The All Night Study Room and Other Horrors of Procrastination

I’m having grad school flashbacks.

And not flashbacks to the fun things, like Orioles games and goofing off in Biostats and “Public Health Happy Hour” at MaGerks. 

Nope, I’m having flashbacks to the absolute worst part of grad school: THESIS WRITING.

I have had 3 HUGE projects sitting on my to do list for way, way, way too long.  They are:

1) Finishing editing the book on emotional eating I’ve been working on for-freaking-ever, including somehow adding about 5,000 extra words.  Yup. 

2) Write new website copy, because I have an amazing graphic designer friend who has been tinkering with my blog for months now and is ready to release it as a business-only blog (bye bye, personal life entries)… as soon as my butt gets around to writing important content like: WHAT I DO and WHO I AM.  Apparently essential topics for a business website. 

3) Create a talk for a “launch party” for BetterNumbers that’s in 2 months.  This talk will be given to a bunch of personal trainers who I need to impress with the myriad of ways that BetterNumbers can improve their clients results and their business.  In other words: it should probably be awesome.

The first task has been on my to do list since… wait for… October.  The second one since early January, and the third one for about 3 weeks.  The problem has been all three required a big chunk of time, and I just hadn’t sat down and carved one (much less three) out yet.

I was also procrastinating them because, frankly, I don’t really want to do them.  I love writing, but I am not so keen on editing.  (It’s usually after I hit publish on a blog post that I notice errors or think of better ways to say something.)  As for the website, I feel awkward writing about myself or about what I do, even though I’m working on getting over that.  And while I love giving talks, the actual powerpoint creation… ehhh, not so much.  But while I’m not super psyched about these tasks, I really want the end results of them (book finished, website done, talk given) so on my to do list they’ve remained.

This weekend has been my perfect, no-excuse, git ‘er done weekend.  Matt is working nights in the PICU (7pm-7a) which means he’s sleeping during the day.  I had a 3 day weekend with no commitments.  Our weekends are about to get fast and furious with beach trips, and bachlorette parties, wedding festivities etc, and such so I knew the time was now.

Which is how I found myself in the WFU library at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon, ear buds in, latte in hand, begrudgingly plugging away at my edits.  I’d love to say that as of 10 pm on Saturday while I write this I am stick-a-fork-in-me-DONE… but I’m not.  I did though, get the hardest one done.  I spent a few hours at Starbucks on Friday, a few hours at the library this morning and I’ve been sitting in the same spot at my kitchen table since 4 pm today… and I think I can say I’m finally done editing.  I’m going to do a final read through tomorrow, and then it’s in the hands of a friend of mine who works as an editor in real life for some legit red pen fun.  (I am terrified.) 

I love writing (see: rambling blog posts) and working on this book has been a labor of love over the past 2 years… but I cannot say that I enjoyed the editing part.  Sitting at my desk (kitchen table) and forcing myself to finish something even on a self-afflicted deadline flashes me straight back to thesis writing and writing paper after paper after paper in undergrad.  Most traumatic experience: the time I put off writing my 10 page final paper for History for Dance until the day before it was due.  I stayed up all night in what we referred to as the “no friends room*” in the library, went for a run at 5 am to keep myself awake, and finished the paper about 30 minutes before my 10 am class.

(I got an A.)

(That really did not help teach me anything about procrastination did it?)

So in 2 days, I got 1 of my 3 tasks done.  I definitely was not as focused as I could have been (thank HEAVENS that Twitter, Facebook and iPhones did not exist when I was in college) but I also am working with self-imposed deadlines.  The only person who knows and suffers if I don’t get these tasks done is…. me.

Is it realistic to think I’ll get my other two tasks done tomorrow?  Sigh, I don’t know.  I sort of know this will be one of the last uninterrupted weekends we’ll have for awhile and it would behoove me to be a writing machine tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  I can promise you this though: if it’s not done before 10 pm, it’s not getting done.  I have learned a few things in my wiser, older years.


**The room we used to call the “no friends room” in the library had orange shag carpeting, a peg board wall and study carrols.  It was open all night.  Today?  It’s a 2-story Starbucks with plush leather seats and huge tables and Siriux XM 24 playing.  WFU Kids of 2011, you are SPOILED ROTTEN. 


k. said...

You got an A. Of course you did. I love it.

(Especially that it probably only validated that you can be incredibly successful while waiting until the VERYLASTSECOND)

Unknown said...

I thought the no friends room was the side room off the pit where you had to go eat if you didn't have friends to eat with. not that I ever ate that. I usually took food back to my room. Ah, freshman year.