The Thing You Don’t Want to Do

I am a procrastinator by nature.  I put things off, I find ways around them, I avoid.  Then I inevitably feel guilty about that.  The nagging tasks I’ve avoided doing float around my brain, swirling with other, everyday mundane tasks.  I feel these things in the space between my chest and my stomach. They sit there, sometimes rocks sometimes jellyfish sometimes snakes.  I don’t avoid thinking about these things, I think about them the way you prod a sore tooth just to see if the pain is still there.

The task I’ve been avoiding most recently isn’t a small task.  This isn’t “Oh, I have to call the dentist” (although I do have to call the dentist to get my wisdom teeth taken out).  It’s not a stack of essays on my desk (although I do have a stack of essays on my virtual desk on GoogleClassroom).  And even though I do need to run five miles today, that’s not the things that feels like it’s trying to escape from my sternum.

The thing I’ve been avoiding, that I have been thinking about not thinking about, that worms its way into every single conversation and thought and task I do is my dissertation.

I’m in a doctoral program and I’m up to the dissertation stage.  And I’m avoiding it.  I haven’t worked on it since the summer, and even then I only barely worked on it.  I worked here and there with no real structure.  I had a pretty solid plan in place and then I got pregnant and had a baby.  And now I’m going to face the consequences of that procrastination.

I’m going to a meeting today called “Dissertation Drained?”  I don’t know if it’s possible to be drained from something that you’re not actually doing, but I’m going.  I’m going to talk about my struggles and how I don’t know where to start or what to do.  I’m going to sit down with my advisor and with people who are actually dissertation drained and I’m going to come up with a plan.  And then I’m going to come home and enjoy my baby free time (she’s at my mom’s so I can go to this meeting while my husband coaches baseball–the American family) and dissertate.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Thing You Don’t Want to Do

  1. Pat

    Your writing expresses the depth of procrastination. I did the same for different reasons & after several years I finally pushed myself enough, just enough to complete it. The defense was a breeze and I wondered why I didn’t take care of it sooner. The cloud was no longer hanging above me! Now that huge task is behind me. I’m glad you are starting again. You will be relieved.

  2. Writers procrastinate. I’m glad you are going to this meeting. Good luck with your dissertation!

  3. When things become so overwhelming I just want to shut the door and leave. Congratulations on taking a needed step so that you can move forward.

  4. As a fellow procrastinator I empathize! I love your line “sometimes rocks sometimes jellyfish sometimes snakes”- it really expresses the pressure I feel too. It does always feel good to accomplish a task, but there are always so many others waiting in line!

  5. I feel your pain!! Working on my National Boards and I have never felt such procrastination tendencies in my life! Wishing you success. Keep your eyes on the prize…it is going to feel SOOOOO good when you finish this!

  6. You write well about this pain! I can get over whelmed like this as well. I find that if I can make a small list of first steps and then do one step at a time I can get myself back into a large task I keep walking away from. Just one small step at a time. Good Luck! Glad you found a meeting to support you!

  7. I usually say that I work better under pressure, but I think I am just a big old procrastinator! Good Luck!

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