The jobs that need to be done

A friend at uni (gawd, in the 90s) used to say “the hardest part of going for a run every day is putting on your shoes”. He also carried a ratty old beer coaster in his wallet on which he’d scrawled: “there’s nothing more attractive in a person than the knowledge that they find you attractive”. Apparently he’d consult this beer coaster before deciding whether to go home with someone.

Anyway. Back to putting on those shoes. Motivation, eh? It’s a bugger, isn’t it? Since the end of semester – so no more teaching commitments, no more assignments for the subject I was taking, plus the news that our home is being sold – I’ve found it really hard to sit down and read the journal articles that are piling up on my desk. Without deadlines over my head (apart from The Big One, but that’s years away), I’ve been doing all the vitally important things that need to be done before moving to a smaller place. Like packing away winter clothes. And sorting summer clothes. And moving the plants we’ve put in the garden over the last four years into pots so we can take them with us. And taking the review copies of books that I’ll never read to Vinnies. And washing all the dress-ups so they are clean for the next costume party. Because really, who doesn’t need this wig to be ready at a moment’s notice:

Awesome Cyndi Lauper wig

And yes, in case you were wondering, that is two wigs sewn together with a fake rubik’s cube sewn on top. It was for a Cyndi Lauper costume.

But back to motivation. See how easy it is for me to get distracted? I’m hopeless. How do you make yourself do stuff?

PS: Someone found News with Nipples today by searching for “skin tight rubber cow suit”. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned those five words together. Ever. And wouldn’t it give you thrush? And would you have to moo while you were doing it?

26 responses to “The jobs that need to be done

  1. they all seem like pretty vital jobs to me, actually! How about the motivation of if you don’t finish the thesis before your scholarship runs out, you’ll be broke and won’t be able to go to any more dress-up parties?? But yes, it is hard to keep than end goal in mind because it’s years away. You need to break it up into small chunks and give yourself artifical deadlines – at least, that is what I did. I also kept a journal which I only wrote it periodically but each time I did so, I’d write eg ‘in the next two months I need to draft Chapter 2, speak to X about data and revise Chapter 4’ or whatever and then I would go back and check off whether I’d done so. Can you discuss with your supervisor too? I found at times I was struggling I’d make it clear I needed a bit more of a push and they were happy to oblige. But also bear in mind that it’s the end of the year and maybe you’re just burnt out and need a bit of a break. A thesis doesn’t generally progress in a linear fashion. That’s just my $0.02 worth…good luck! x

    • That won’t work because I don’t have a scholarship. Hence the part time job.

      The problem is, I don’t respect my own deadlines. I talked about it with my supervisor yesterday, and have my annual review next week so that should kick me up the bum.

  2. Well, if you are desperate for people to donate old clothes too, I will gladly be your charity case. πŸ˜›

    Better yet, have a garage sale. It’s amazing to me the things people would pay money for!

  3. I rather like the image of a skin tight rubber cow suit, it has humour.

    Moving home is one of those really stressful events so I’d suggest you give yourself permission to step back from the study although if there are two things that need to be done in the next fortnight prioritize them and give yourself a reward once they are completed.

  4. Ha! Vinnies actually rejected my donations once *blushes*

    End of semester has left me adrift in a sea of apathy, too. I’m hardly reading at all, and I’m taking a lot of naps (although I am reading The Female Eunuch, because I feel its an important part of gender politics history, and because I know it pisses off someone I enjoy hearty debates with in Blog-land πŸ™‚ ). I’m also job seeking at the moment, so I’m using it as an excuse for academic inaction as well.

    It’s a month until christmas. You are NOT likely to do any work in the two weeks prior to that, or over the New Year break, so why not set yourself the goal of doing ONE thesis related task (1-2 hours should be fine) per day? Make a list of about 10 small and 5 medium sized tasks you could do – they could include editing, reading, searching, cataloging, data entry if you have any – and promise yourself to do at least half of them by next week. make the list look awesomely pretty (yep this is Teacher Pants speaking) so as you can put it in a place you will look at it often e.g. on the fridge or tacked up near the bathroom mirror. By the second week it will be totally do-able to have those tasks done, and then you have at least 3 weeks of PART-TAYYYY! And you won’t have to feel guilty because you did all your stuff this fortnight.

    PS I think your beer coaster toting friend is awesome πŸ™‚

  5. Essentially, I procrastinate until I feel really really bad about myself and worry about what editors will think of me if I don’t meet a deadline or how I will feel if I get an English grade that isn’t a HD. Helpful! Sometimes I promise myself a reward, like the next episode of a TV show I’m wanting to see, or finishing a novel, or eating some ice cream. Sometimes I tell someone I’m going to do something on a particular day in order to shame myself into doing it in case they ask if I got it done. So: low self-esteem and ice cream. Wow, you’re making me realise that I need healthier and happier ways of getting things done.

    • Chally, those things don’t work for me because I’ve learned from experience that I always manage to pull something out of my butt at the last minute and get a D or HD, with very little effort. But I do respond to deadlines. This is my fourth tertiary qualification and I’ve never handed anything in late. Even when I was freelancing, I always made my deadlines. But, for some reason, I don’t respond to deadlines I set for myself.

      By the way, which TV shows do you bribe yourself with?

  6. Uh.. yeah.. still trying to find the answer to that one.
    Love your work.

  7. Yeah, me too, but I have this fear I’m going to fail that never quite seems to go away. Over the last few months, Farscape, True Blood and Being Human :).

    • I haven’t seen those, but we’ve been watching It’s always sunny in Philadelphia (so wrong) and Breaking Bad. I wish they’d do a new Battlestar Galactica but that’s kinda impossible after the ending.

  8. I’m procrastinating right now. Should be packing/cleaning the bathroom. We have an inspection at 4pm. The removal trucks arrive on Monday. The house is maybe 1/4 packed. And I’m on the internetz talking smack and goofing off.

    I even have a list! (I have completed and ticked off 1/2 of it though)

    • Half the list done already and the trucks arrive on Monday – you’ve got ages! You’re positively ahead of schedule.

      I am also procrastinating. I should be making a list, but I’m drafting a blog post that is going to get me in trouble at work. Again.

      • If only it was the MASTER list! It’s just the list for today though….
        Only two things left to do. I need the man for the other things.
        Being fun sized I cannot reach stuff that needs doing (like reconnecting the smoke detector in the family room that goes off all summer long because humidity sets it off and we live in the goddamn tropics.) I can use a ladder but not if I have to stand on the top rung……then my pathological fear of heights kicks in and I fall apart in a way that leaves me utterly ashamed with myself. Hence the glow in the dark stars debacle. (Which sadly wouldn’t stay stuck to the penis. Though I did consider using packing tape to make them stay there. )

        Blogging is your procrastinating? As far as I am concerned that’s production woman. You are after all a Wonkley Nominee and as such that entitles you to blog. (Though the getting in trouble bit sucks, but that’s only because you’re good at it.)

  9. I think the main tool I use is mood. When I’m feeling in the mood to do something, I seize on it and do as much of it as possible (of course, this may lead to vacuuming your verandah, so some caution needs to be exercised). When my mood isn’t cooperating, I use music to modify it. For things that don’t go well with music, I use a timer. 45mins of the thing I REALLY don’t want to do, 15mins of something, anything else. I find I work faster and more efficiently that way, trying to achieve as much as possible in the 45 mins. That particular time combination is courtesy of Flylady, but I find it works. It’s long enough to get into something, and the 15min break is enough to refresh, but not long enough to totally derail what you were doing.

  10. Pingback: Cold turkey | the news with nipples

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