Sunday, August 4, 2013


Tonight's post looks to be mostly just a placeholder so I don't fall off the writing-every-day wagon two days in. To be fair, I am writing today. It's just that I'm writing a report on the time capsule survey I fielded a few weeks ago. You may remember an earlier post where I asked you all to complete it. Much to my surprise and delight, 243 people responded.

I've known about this assignment since I launched the survey. I've had the data available to me for about the last ten days. I'm interested in the results because they pertain to a project I'm really excited about. Still, here I sit on Sunday night at 11 pm, hours from being finished. I'd like to say this is surprising or an aberration, but there have been at least a half dozen Sunday nights exactly like this since I started grad school in January. I always think things take less time than they take.

I told my boyfriend that I'd have this assignment banged out in four or five hours. But I was giving him my conservative estimate. In my head, I honestly believed it would more like two or three. So far it's been about seven and I'm approximately halfway done the paper. Fortunately, I tend to have much more difficulty at the beginning of an assignment than I do from the midway point to the end. If all goes as usual, it will take me about three hours to finish the last half of the paper, which is way better than having another seven hours to go. But it's not five hours. And it doesn't even vaguely resemble three hours.

I can't even say this is a school-specific problem. I've been like this my entire adult life. When I was the editor of a weekly gay newspaper in San Diego in the 90s, I knew exactly how much work needed to be done to get the newspaper out the door to the printer each week. I gave the writers reasonable deadlines that left enough time to get things edited and ready to go. I had access to the office and plenty of work I could get caught up on over the weekend. And every single Monday for two years I would get to work at around 7 am and not leave until 2 or 3 am Tuesday. And I'm not exaggerating. Never once in over 100 Mondays did I leave work before midnight.

So what is the problem? I've given it a lot of thought. I'm bad at estimating how much time things take. I never account for the inevitable problems and setbacks that will occur when things are being done at the last minute. I've come up with reasons and excuses galore. Unfortunately, as part of my recovery I've done an inventory on my behavior patterns and tendencies so I know what the real answer is. Sloth.

I'm lazy as fuck. But not only lazy, stupid lazy. I have been known to watch four or five episodes of a television show I already know every line of dialogue to or one I've never considered urgent before rather than start an assignment that's due in 24 hours. Today, for instance, I watched two episodes of Ru Paul's Drag Race, two episodes of The Daily Show, one Bewitched rerun, I Dream of Jeannie and Charmed. Even when you factor in the commercial skipping that you get by watching shows that are already recorded, it's easy to see why I'm still sitting here as the clock ticks ever closer to midnight.

So wish me luck. Even now, it's kind of a crap shoot. I could post this, get back to work and be done by 2 am. Or I could get distracted on Facebook and be trying to finish this tomorrow afternoon before class. I usually like tying up these posts with some little nugget of wit or wisdom that I've come up with on the topic of the post, but after all these years of doing the same thing over and over all I can say is maybe my mom was right. Apparently I never learn.

p.s. On the bright side, I wrote this in 30 minutes without a single spell-check error. Of course, I don't have time to reread it right now so there could be a host of errors that are beyond spell-check's capabilities.

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