Monday, September 29, 2008

Unconscious procrastination


This week, I've realized that I feel like the little ball being violently whacked around in a drunken Fussball game. All of these forces are acting on me in different directions...you should be doing your dissertation. You should be preparing for teaching. You should be cleaning your apartment. You should be exercising, losing weight, eating better, making friends and influencing people.

It feels impossible to do any of those things fully, so you spread yourself thin and feel like you're doing a mediocre job at best on any of them.

Lately, when people ask me how the writing is going, I tell them that my teaching is taking up too much time now, but next semester, oh, next semester, I'm going to not-teach and focus all my time on writing.

And I have a moment of pride: look, I'm setting aside time just for the dissertation!

Except, as one ruthless friend pointed out, well, okay, next semester is settled, but isn't that just putting things off until then? And she's right...without even realizing it, I've used my "next semester is dissertation time!" plan as a subconscious excuse for not doing anything right now.

So I'm starting to force myself to do things on the dissertation, even if they are small things - ordering books, organizing books, setting up the place in my apartment where books will go, looking at calls for papers to submit my as-yet-not-written chapter as a way to trick myself into having more deadlines. Because its great that next semester I will have time, but I should make myself make time now too.

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