Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reflections On Myself

So here I am. It's after 11:00 at night, on the last day of break, and what am I doing?

Trying to finish work for school I technically should have done several weeks ago.

Yeah, yeah, I know--bad idea. Believe me, I've heard it all before. You're reading words written by someone who registered for his college classes on Tuesday, January 3rd, when he received the paperwork before Thanksgiving break. I have a habit of minor procrastination. While we're on this topic, it's probably a good time to mention that I have yet to start the coursework for my online AP microeconomics course, all of which is due at the end of this month.

So...why? Why do I consistently do this to myself?

I'm not sure I know the answer. I do feel like I have an overdrive I can turn on when I need it. This summer, I sequenced most of the MIDI files (if you don't know what that is, it's sufficient to know that it's a lot of work) for a local production of The Producers within the space of a week by working from 6:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M., with breaks only for marching band practices and for rehearsals for my own play, Annie. But, although I do sometimes enjoy cranking out work in this frenzied manner, after a while, it becomes somewhat tiresome.

Do I think I learn more or produce better work when the pressure to finish as quickly as possible is on me? Certainly not. I know that I am far less efficient when I am working like I am right now than I would be if I, as common sense would dictate.

Rarely, I will successfully map out a work schedule for myself, and stick to it, and get whatever it is I'm working on done ahead of time. And it is a nice feeling. But then, I'll lapse back into my old ways. So even though I've tried other solutions, I don't stick with them.

However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am, in some aspects, extremely self-motivated. I've engineered and worked on a massive trebuchet, developed a Beowulf cluster, performed some of the harder piano pieces ever written, and made first chair flute in our Allstate band (and believe me, I practiced ahead of time for that). I can work to achieve a goal...sometimes.

Looking through that list, the distinction is obvious: I work on what I want to work on, pushing aside that which bores me (and, let's be honest...compared to a ten foot tall trebuchet, what isn't boring?) for what grabs my attention. Some of my friends here in La Junta don't do this. They prioritize, thinking about what work's due date is closest and therefore should be done first.

Reread that last sentence. Think about it.