How Not to Get It Done

First, figure out how much of it there is to do:

(11 x 100-page screenplays) + (25 x 20-page term papers) + (4 x remaining grad-school recommendation letters) = Holy Effing Crap

Find yourself so daunted by the stacks that you can’t quite start. Alternately, at the moments you feel you could start, find yourself instead rushing to yet another meeting you’re already late for.

Set aside the day after classes end as the moment at which you’ll start, at last. Instead, use that time to complete the other lingering tasks you’ve left undone, like ordering your books for next semester, and planning your syllabi, and updating your filing system.

Plan on presenting several motions at the faculty meeting on Friday, and find yourself so haunted by the memory of your last miserable appearance before this august body that you can do nothing but rehearse every possible argument for and against in the twelve hours leading up to the meeting. Feel the tiniest bit let down when there’s not even discussion of the motions, but instead simple acclamation. Return to your office, mind cleared. Vow that this semester, you are only grading, not commenting.

Succumb immediately to the need to comment. Manage to get through three term papers before you leave the office. Set aside Saturday as the day for the major grading offensive.

Instead, consume mass quantities of champagne Friday night, because you really, really need to blow off some steam. Spend most of Saturday recovering, but manage somehow to get through five term papers. Set aside Sunday as the day for the major grading offensive.

Awaken Sunday with a desperate need to clean. Vacuum parts of the apartment that haven’t been vacuumed in six months. Do four loads of laundry. Finally settle down to grade around noon. Get through three term papers by 3.30 pm, and decide that, since you have to go by the office and pick more up anyhow, you’ll swing by the condo first, just to see how things are going. Take some pictures. Talk with the sales folks. Linger.

Finally head for the office to pick up the remaining term papers, planning to get through them tonight. Read one, and then grab an early dinner. Watch the second-to-last episode of this season of The Wire at its east-coast feed time, planning on spending the rest of the evening grading. Realize that the final episode of Sex and the City, which you’d never seen, comes on an hour after The Wire ends. Grade one term paper inbetween; watch Sex and the City; watch The Wire again at its west coast feed time, because you really did miss a couple of key lines.

Turn off the television and head back to your desk. Read two pages of another term paper. Stay up until 1 am reading blogs you’ve never read before.

Recalculate the remaining distance:

(11 x 100-page screenplays) + (9 x 20-page term papers) + (4 x remaining grad-school recommendation letters) = deep heavy sigh

Blog it.


  1. Wow. How much does that sound like my end of the semester? Except for the cleaning. Also, replace “champagne” with “vegan cheesecake.” But yeah, good times with the quasi-procrastination, but quasi-stuff you need to get done anyway, at some point in time, so why not now?

    Oh, and props for doing the responsible thing and not buying the condo now. I totally would’ve been foolish and gone for the easy money, instincts be damned. But maybe that’s just the broke college student in me talking.

  2. The danger of the “quasi-stuff you need to get done anyway” is, of course, my vast powers of rationalization, in which I can determine that despite the fact that I was able to live without the house being clean for the last month and a half, I won’t be able to concentrate until the house is clean, so I may as well do it now, rather than grade. Sigh.

    On the condo thing, though — all props go to my advocate in the real property office, who is also my lender; she totally nixed the easy money plan, instead hounding the builder such that they sped up my completion in the interest of being able to close before the end of the year. So no pile of free cash, but an early closing nonetheless. My walk-through inspection is this afternoon, in fact!

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