What is probably the worst combination in the history of the world? Promising and procrastinating.
I do this all the time, I promise my wife I will do something, but if I don’t do it right away I forget, or just plain procrastinate. I would like to say that procrastination is doing other things while still having the thing that you need to do in the forefront of your mind, but then I think forgetting about things has just the same effect, although less stressful until you remember. Of course the disappointment in myself is pretty big, but that is dwarfed by the feeling of having disappointed someone else, especially my wife.
Right now, as I write this, I am procrastinating. Sort of. I’ve read through assignment 3 and I need to let it simmer. But I am also waiting for the peer feedback for assignment 2 to be uploaded so that I can get that done for the class. It doesn’t look good for “the drop” tonight. I am also using this moment to write, write “I” enough that I think I might need to edit this.
This is an okay equilibrium at the moment, because it has many layers of preparedness: I am early wanting peer feedback, I have read the assignment a week before it is due and it builds off of the previous one, I am practicing writing which is crucial for this class, and I will update my to-do list before going to practice my cello, then reading and then bed. Right now, everything is under control.
It’s a good feeling, but of course fleeting because this week is going to flit by one way or another.
So is this waiting any better than just getting things done at the last instant? It’s hard to say from this end. Is it temporary motivation that I am chomping at the bit? Have I finally begun to learn discipline? (Note: whenever I think this way I remember all the things that I would like to add to my disciplined schedule and how many things I have failed at already in terms of discipline.)
It’s going to be hard to say from the other end. There is something to finishing something all in one go. Something satisfying about having just finished, and it’s addictive (Wait But Why.) I remember one of my most exhilarating coding days, I knew I needed to write a user interface to test the new receiver in the telescope. I put it off until the day of, and finished, not well, that same day. Here is the description in passing. It made me realize that being an expert at a chosen technology can mean that you can get things out quickly. While that is an awfully nice thought, a better one is getting it done over the course of weeks, consulting with people, and being on-hand for the commissioning.
I still have a problem with discipline at work as distractions are plentiful, but I also can get quite a bit done just being that much more of an expert. Something about having worked for 10 years as of the 21st of January.
There is no perfection in my work. I strive to understand better ways of doing things, new things I come across, but I am much more confident. I wait quite a bit more, but on the other side. I find things to do, things that I should be remembering sooner, and things that may make at least one person’s job easier.