Saturday, March 12, 2011

Skipping a day!

So since the work is still in progress to keep track of my entire week in detail for Day 26 of my 30 Day Blog Journal, which I plan on posting tomorrow after this week has come to a close, I figured I better keep things rolling and go for Day 27 
My worst habit -
 This picture pretty much sums it all up in its truest form. I am a HORRIBLE procrastinator. And to top that off, I can generally make myself sound like I'm being really productive when, in reality, I'm not. I always say that I work better under pressure, which is generally true, but still...gosh, I'm awful about this. 

Here is an example: I have been "working" on my proposal since January. My proposal is this dreadful document, approximately 15 pages long, that is basically a huge summary of your research. It includes a a brief overview or abstract over what you plan to do and what the significance of it is, a background of things that have already been done over your topic, a whole lot of details of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it, and then a conclusion/summary of sorts basically trying to prove that your research is the coolest thing ever invented and will bring all these huge benefits to society.  Once this document is prepared, I will submit it to my doctoral committee of about 5 or so people, and then prepare a presentation that I will have to give to them, basically defending what I've written and basically begging them to give me the go-ahead so that I can continue my research and ultimately finish my PhD.  For some reason, I find this intimidating...

 My advisor asked me to, "for the next couple of weeks" (mind you, this was like the 2nd week of school...), write approximately 4 pages over just the background information and get the draft to him so he can look over it and make sure I'm headed in the right direction. I created all kinds of excuses for myself (not really that I gave to him...just that I used for myself mentally) really started off that I was a little bit overwhelmed and really wasn't sure where to start...but then it turned into things like SNOW (because gee, when I'm stuck in the house with absolutely NOTHING to do because I can't get out my driveway, why would that be a logical time to work on my paper?) I convinced myself that was a good excuse because I needed to be able to access the library website from campus to get journal articles and I needed to be able to print them. In actuality, there is an off-campus log-in I can use to access the library website for journal articles, and really, I could read them from my computer screen and take notes on a piece of paper. I also got to use the "my boyfriend's deploying and I need to spend time with him" excuse...which I'd actually say is quite valid, and I'd use that one all over again. But I definitely took advantage of the fact that there was only a short time before he left that I got to spend with him, and I was not about to "waste" it working on my paper. 

I could go on...I am a champion of excuses...dishes, laundry, cleaning in general...organizing my entire house so I could take pictures for my blog? haha yep...did that one too. But ultimately, I am under a deadline to graduate and I NEED to get this proposal done. And the crazy part is...once I actually defend my proposal, I get paid an extra $3000/'d think that would provide some kind of motivation!

But anyways...after weeks dang near 2 months of putting it off, I finally got frustrated enough with myself that I put the pressure on....finally got my background draft done yesterday! It actually ended up being more like 6 pages, because I ended up having a lot more information than I realized.  I might have to edit that later...but still it's done (well, at least that part is). 

It's funny sad to me that I procrastinate so bad. I feel so much better having accomplished whatever it is when I'm finished, and when I do procrastinate, I really just feel like CRAP about myself and feel so lazy and sloth-like. Sometimes it is just so hard for me to find the motivation to make it happen. It's also really weird, because when it comes to matters other than reading/writing and stuff like that, I can be SO productive, and very determined to get whatever I want. 

Needless to say, I really need to overcome this habit before it is time to write my dissertation, which is a WAY HUGER document that includes pretty much everything my proposal does and so. much. more! That's where I will put everything I have ever done since I've been in grad school, and basically is my opportunity to prove to my committee and ultimately the entire world that I am actually deserving of the title "Dr. Woods"...or well, by then it will be more like "Dr. Merriman" ;)

What is your advice to overcoming procrastination and being disciplined to get things accomplished in a timely manner? I am open to ideas and suggestions! :)

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