On Procrastination

January 6, 2010 · 0 comments

I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

***

The word “procrastination” is a combination of two Latin words:  pro = “for”, cras = “tomorrow”.  For tomorrow.

***

Seriously, I feel like I’m back in college.  I was really hoping to hit the ground running this week, but something’s kind of holding me back.  I don’t know what it is.  I’m trying to be proactive at work, but am meeting only resistance, which probably means that it’s not yet time for me to be spearheading anything in particular.  By which I do not mean it’s not that time in my life, but rather that it’s not that time of year yet.

An example might help here, wouldn’t it, dear reader?  Maybe I’ll give you one in a minute.  Let me ramble for a bit, please.

Things are not starting to pile up for me – yet.  But they will.  Soon.  Up yours Hemingway:  you and your terseness making me all curt with my writing and sh*t.

Which reminds me to pass along my friend and fraternity brother Pete Zeigler’s joke (just in case we’re not facebook-friends and/or you didn’t see his comment to yesterday’s post on fb):

Q:  Why did Hemingway’s chicken cross the road?

A:  To die.  Alone.  In the rain.

***

I’m not sure if you’re picking up on the whole digression-as-procrastination irony within this post yet, dear reader, but it’s there.  Here?

Anyway, in the past few days I’ve had a handful of things come up that relate to future projects.  Now is the time to start preparing for them, but the busy time is not here yet.  So I’m kind of procrastinating the preparation because there’s no fire under my ass.  Which is also why – I think – the Universe is telling me it’s not yet time to downshift and get into the fast lane.

I’m not exactly sure what the Universe is telling me right now.  Maybe it’s giving me a heads-up to enjoy a little bit of semi-busy time before the wicked-busy time hits me.  I know it’s going to come all at once.

Examples:

  1. I’ve been working on a project on hedge fund activism at work for the past couple of years and the “go live” date has recently been re-set for mid-January.That’s like next week.  Thing is, the part for which I’m responsible is pretty much done and has been for quite some time now.  Other people have parts to play, but they’ve not executed yet.  I’m not really “in charge”, so I can’t light a fire under their asses, even though that’s what needs to be done.  And I just don’t feel like trying to be a cheerleader or Paul Revere for anyone – I’ve done it before and it’s just no use and only frustrating for me.

    So I have to wait.

  2. I have another project at work with a drop-dead date of February 9th.

    But I won’t receive the data I need to start the project until sometime after January 11th, so there’s not much I can do to prepare.  Any preparation I put together now will only be semi-effective, because (a) the preparations will be stale in a week, and (b) I don’t want to be a Chicken Little or a Boy Who Cried Wolf, because when the fire’s finally lit under my ass, nobody’s going to pat me down when I stop-drop-and-roll.

  3. The company for which I currently write website copy on the side is about to get very busy.

  4. A buddy of mine just contacted me to let me know that he’s going to have some copywriting work coming up for two different companies.  But not for a little bit – start date is still TBD.

I talked to my boss today about getting some help for the upcoming projects at work and he responded with some pretty standard push-back.  That’s a real pain in the ass and basically just dampens my initiative.  The best way for me to be prepared for the upcoming projects is to get people trained and firing on all cylinders so that when the rubber meets the road, we’ll be ready.  I even suggested a side-project that I can use to train my extra help, which would be beneficial to other aspects of the business and keep my help busy without having them twiddling their thumbs.  More push-back.

So it looks like my work projects are going to get done the way they’ve always gotten done:  long hours for me, under the gun, with a constant feeling of playing catch-up.

That’s fine; that’s what it feels like the Universe is telling me.

I haven’t talked too much yet about the fact that Chinese New Year is coming up and that this year will be the year of the Tiger – which relates to personal achievement (as opposed to this soon-to-be-ending year of the Ox, which is/was a year of dogged plodding and hard work).  Maybe I’m supposed to grab the bull by the balls and give my boss what-for:  tell him that my work ethic demands excellence and that I’ll settle for nothing less than the extra help I need NOW, so that I can get them up and running.  Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

My, this post is rife with cliches, isn’t it dear reader?

I suppose the icing on the cake for me today was reading Lauren Flax‘s post “MIA” this afternoon.  She pretty much hits the nail on the head with how I’m feeling right now, which isn’t altogether an unfamiliar feeling:

“…my life lacks intensity, focus, and purpose.

Of course, it hasn’t always been this way, and that is good. But, I have been coasting longer than necessary, and I think it is time to assess where I am, and either hit the brakes or hit the gas.

I am not looking for a new career, or to write a novel, or really anything quantifiable. It is more that I don’t have much drive about how life is going to be so that all of that other stuff can show up as the result. This is where I usually start complaining about the fact that no one gets me, and I need to find a community of like-minded people and blah blah blah. The world is still lonely sometimes, but I am getting better about seeking out people who do good things for my heart and mind. I have come a long way in the past year. Still, sometimes it would be nice if it were a little easier, if some one would just figure it out for me. Just in case anyone has figured it out for me, I’ll ask: What am I missing? What is the next chapter?”

I’ve heard it said “…but it’s hell in the hallway” in response to the old saying “when one door closes, another door opens”.  And that’s pretty much where I’m at right now:  in the hallway.  Like I said, it’s not an entirely unfamiliar feeling.  I just don’t particularly like it.

I don’t know what to do with myself.  When a project starts and the proverbial fire is lit, I’m a f*ckin animal.  I get things done like nobody’s business – and they get done well.  But it’s those moments of weightlessness between the hard burning of upward flight and the acceleration of the dive that comes from giving in to (and becoming one with) gravity where I lose my direction and feel lost.  I simply don’t know how to enjoy the view while I’m up there.

What I should be doing right now is what I did a few months ago:  look at the earth below me and take aim at some point so that when gravity takes hold, all I have to do is steer a little bit here and there.  In other words, put together another priorities list.

Yes, that’s what I need to do.  My former Inventory & Priorities list [See: Inventory & List of Priorities (1), (2), (2a), (3,4)] is pretty much now defunct.  All the short-term goals of that list have been achieved, and all I have to do is keep going in the general direction I’ve already set to achieve the long-term goal of getting my winter patch for the Catskill 3500 Club (viz. climb mountains every weekend).

Yup, that’s why I’m directionless and procrastinating right now.  (Thanks for following along this broken stream of logic with me, dear reader.)  I need to put together another Inventory & List of Priorities for 2010.

The busy season at work starts in March and goes through mid-July, and as I mentioned above, it’s going to start around January 11th for me this year.  So I need to figure out what I’m going to aim at.  When a hawk dives on its prey, it isn’t falling, it’s flying downward:  the velocity of a hawk’s dive is much greater than the simple product of its mass and the acceleration of gravity (9.81 m/s²).

I need to get a bead on my prey and shape my wings the way a hawk does during this time of weightlessness.

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