Procrastination confessions

true-blood-alexander-skarsgard.jpgI have been ‘doing’ a PhD for 3 years now and in that time I have become an expert in the art of procrastination.

I thought you might like it know it is possible to complete (almost) a PhD and also be a master procrastinator. In fact, I think it might be an essential part of my process.

In the beginning, I was nagged by a constant guilt – a feeling that if I spent all the time I wasted on anything but reading and writing, on reading and writing, then I would be so much smarter than I am now; that this PhD would write itself; and that I would actually become the expert I was expected to.

The highlights of this 3 year procrastinationathon include:

  • Watching the first 5 seasons of True Blood, straight through (the other two hadn’t come out yet).
  • Building a deck.
  • Writing a screenplay.
  • Wallpapering the hall.
  • And planning/taking two overseas trips, requiring months of internet research.

Not bad achievements, but the main motivation, in each of these cases, was to avoid writing and reading. And this list does not include all the trips to the movies, the naps, the daytime TV, the lunch breaks I never returned from, etc.

After 3 years, I have come to accept my lack of discipline as my modus operandi, and to work with it rather than against it.

I no longer feel guilty about the time I take off (although I have used a far bit of my LOA to balance that time out). Writing up always seems to take about three times as long as I think it should, but I am on track to finish this year (fingers crossed).

2bb155322b4e07b19837f259cc3f3949At the end of this, I may not be as smart as I hoped I would be, but then a PhD is (probably) not the last thing I will do. It is part of a bigger picture, not the whole picture.

I am now planning a backyard studio. But am holding off on drawing up the plans until after my final chapter is written. I have to draw the line somewhere.

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8 Responses to Procrastination confessions

  1. Aleberry says:

    I´m starting this kind of difficult journey. I am in the second year of mi PhD. I began to read different experiences like yours because now I feel in false peaceful moment that in the future will turn on in anxiety. That is what I think. Any suggestions to handle with it?

  2. oxforddphile says:

    this is ridiculous! I just read your lemons post feeling all-kinds of “true that” feels and now I read this one and the “Amen, sister!”s just keep coming. A couple of days ago it finally hit me that I am going to procrastinate no matter what, so I might as well stop feeling so goddamn guilty about it. Since beginning the PhD, I have started baking my own sourdough bread. I planted a herb and flower garden. I learned to knit. I started learning Italian. I watched more tv than one should admit in polite company. And, of course, I started a blog about being a productive PhD student. Oh, the length one has to go to to avoid writing that goddamn thesis.

  3. I agree with you, because I have the same problem. Also, I plan to finish my PhD this year. I don’t like writing at all , sometime I think it waste my time.

  4. thanks for shairng this. It’s funny … because it’s TRUE. I am a master procrastinator but in no way nearly as many fun and relaxing ways as you list here. mine mainly involve succuming to the warm embrace of the sofa or bed because I am too tired to think beacuse i have just spent the past 3 hours wrestling two small boys through tea and bed time. not really procrastination but exhaustion…one day this will change. i hope 🙂

    • They do grow up. Quickly… slowly…quickly… depends on the day really. And yes an overworked brain needs a lot of rest. I sometimes think mental exhaustion is worse than physical exhaustion. Which is why I try not to get involved in any exercise that may physically exhaust me. Especially sport 🙂

      • And that, my friend, is probably why I don’t like exercise even while I procrastinate on my thesis. I have the time, but I’d hate to use it wisely. haha. Life is short. 😀

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