I suppose I could apologize for being out of commission for the past month… but I don’t feel particularly guilty about letting this slide for a while. Life has been busy, and I’m finally starting to see my way through to easier and better times.
I’ve missed my blog though. This has been a weekly outlet for years. Sooo…. what has been on my mind this week?
Not original, I grant you. So much has been said about procrastination, what is destructive about it and how to quit doing it. I want to pause and consider procrastination though in a more positive light.
Most people could use a bit more time to relax in their life, and putting things off (however important) can give your brain a break. Much of our life (especially in American culture) is built around some intense or non-realistic work-ethics: work/study long and hard so you can achieve… whatever. The downside of this is immediate. Somehow, self-care turns into a selfish act.
Leisure and downtime are necessary, in moderation.
When the pressure to return to work does take over, it also forces people to prioritize what is important. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” may sound trite, but it is useful to trim the excess details. Pressure can lead to some breakthroughs, although not always obviously. What did you consider important in those last minutes? What could you have done better? Smoother? How could you streamline your work for next time?
The problem that many people have isn’t in the act of taking some time away, but in our emotional reaction to our work. Not every project is do-or-die, and feeling guilty about not working every free moment isn’t something that leads to making more progress on personal/professional goals. There are minimum standards that you have to meet, but those are going to depend on your own life and needs.
So why do I bring this up on my teaching blog?
I bring it up because all students procrastinate to some degree or another. I don’t believe a perfect student exists, nor a perfect teacher. It is okay if a student can only squeak by on a topic or two because they needed to have more fun playing hooky for a while. It is also okay if teachers don’t hand back student work immediately or reuse some old lesson plans because they needed to catch up on sleep (or playing hooky for a while).
Just remember that when the dust settles, you have some things that you should learn from your procrastination. Was it worth it? What should your priorities be? Did you enjoy getting back into the swing of things, or did you fantasize about never needing to do that again? What are your real responsibilities?
My answer: yes it is worth it. My priorities: family, career, and the pursuit of evil.
Now go forth and kick some ass. In your own time, naturally.
P.S. My priorities are rarely about editing and polishing this blog. :p