“Productive procrastination” is a term my family came up with…and we’re all really good at it. You have your “procrastination part,” which is defined as the delaying of an action, and then you have your “productive” part, which is producing, or bringing forth. The difference between plain, old procrastination and productive procrastination is that with the first, instead of working on your thesis, you sit in your pajamas all day watching every episode of Game of Thrones you can find. With the second, instead of working on your thesis, you’re doing stuff you should do – going grocery shopping, cleaning your apartment, calling back your grandmother. With the first one comes a gnawing guilt – you’re completely slacking off; with the second comes a blissful kind of denial… What? Of course I need to clean out the refrigerator right this second…
Needless to say, trying to find time to work on my thesis has been the biggest obstacle so far, and I’m sure I’m not alone. What is it about getting started on any big project that is so darn hard? I would guess it’s fear – the fear that you’ll dive in and realize just how much work the thing will require and the fear that it will be a slow and painful process that you’re just not very good at.
I plugged my dates into the Dissertation Calculator I told you about in the last post, and wrote all the due dates into my assignment calendar (baby steps). I chose April 1, 2013 as my start date and April 1, 2014 as the end date. Technically, my thesis won’t be due until May, but I want to leave some room “just in case.” At SCAD, the formatting guidelines must be followed exactly, and if you submit your thesis too late and there’s some kind of formatting error, you run the risk of your thesis being rejected and your thesis ultimately gets accepted late.
As for a schedule, for now I’ve decided I can dedicate three hours a week to my thesis. I realize that’s not a lot, but I have many
excuses reasons I tell myself to feel better – I have a lot on my plate this semester, three hours is better than nothing, I’ll be able to dedicate much more time this summer… In general, I’m trying to get better at setting realistic goals for myself. I tend to shoot really high (Sure! I can spend fifteen hours a week on my thesis!), fail, and then totally give up (I only got an hour and a half done this week. Forget it. I’ll just start this summer when I have more time.)
With writing in general, I’ve heard it’s good to stick to a schedule so your brain and body get into the habit. So, for this quarter, I’ve chosen one day a week when I will bang out my three hours of thesis work at the library. Next quarter, I’ll adjust accordingly.
I think the most important part is just to get started. I guess my fridge can wait.