Well, that didn’t work.

During my nine-month-long hiatus, I got nothing whatsoever done that I had planned to do. The second book is exactly 1/17 complete, if we exclude the extended cogitating on that topic that procrastination apologists always give too much credit for. (“You’re not putting it off. You’re pre-planning.”)

The battle I have raged over the last year had two fronts: Getting things done and not beating myself up (another chestnut of the apologists) for failing to get things done. The battle was lost both ways.

The concern, you see, which dates back to childhood, as so many irrationalisms do, is that I will die tomorrow with myriad unfinished projects and many more projects unknown because they went unrecorded. An allied fear is that, once dead, few will care, and, unlike with the majority of people upon their deaths, some of my opponents and detractors would be glad.

The disturbing and still-damaging reality is that the latter fear is not supposition. The former, however, is. I think of myself as a bit of a fat bastard because I haven’t been to the gym in a year, but my valued Jewish doctor can attest that I am in good health. In fact, I even exercise several times a week via the practice of year-round cycling.

If anything, the procrastination and self-hatred for procrastination have become longtime companions. Short of a funded research project with an office to go to every day, this is how I have long worked and how I shall work in the future. It is nonetheless a source of frustration and unhappiness; I do not graciously, mildly, or innocuously accept my work habits. I merely know I can’t do any better, again absent the foregoing funded research project.

What bothers me yet more, though, is declarations from self-described “organized” people to simply DO IT NOW. These people:

  • have 9-to-5 jobs in an uncreative industry (programming is uncreative);
  • have never experienced a depressive or anxious day in their lives;
  • and, in a minority of cases, have presumed undiagnosed mania or ADHD that all but compels them to work like dogs

Confidential to keeners: Your 43 folders merely represent 43 trips to the shredder as far as I’m concerned. Your advice is irrelevant and harmful; it sets up unrealistic expectations, of the sort that new mothers who attempt to return to their previous jobs will find squarely familiar. I already know I’m terrible at getting things done. I don’t need anybody telling me how easy it all is for them, and how clever is the system they spent time devising instead of doing their actual tasks. I don’t want to hear how much of a dynamo you are, because, among other things, are you not aware that from time immemorial keeners have been the most-resented people in any large heterogeneous group?

So: For the umpteenth time, I use my personal Weblog to elucidate the unchanging details of the only characteristic for which I hate myself.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.12.19 16:10. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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