Declare the pennies on your eyes

26 03 2014

Finished my taxes early.

Yeah, early: the last couple of years I’ve completed them on or just before April 15, so finishing them 3 weeks out counts as early for me.

When I first started doing taxes—paper forms, natch—-I almost always completed them in early February. Of course, it helped that I knew I’d be getting a return, so why not file early; given how rarely I’ve ever had to pay in, however, I don’t know why I started lagging.

Actually, last year might have been the first year I had to pay federal (I had that terrible independent contractor job, so got socked when I reported that income), but since moving to New York I’ve paid state taxes a couple of years.

Anyway, my income was lower in 2013 (boo!), which means I get decent returns from both the feds and the state (yay!).

Oh, and what prompted me to take care of all of this now? Welllll, I’m bumping up against a deadline on student loan paperwork which requires tax info. . . .

Yeah, there had to be a reason.

Snap that thing thread, cont.

1 04 2013

There is one area in which I’ve never been good, will never be good, and. . . I don’t mind.

I’m talkin’ ’bout writing, specifically, deadline-oriented writing. I always wait until the latest possible moment to start something, and I always pull it off.

Always: there may have been times in which I didn’t, or turned out something so terrible that I might as well have burned past the due date, but excepting those few moments of freak out (paralysis in assembling an undergrad policy paper) or granted-ahead-of-time extension (grad human rights paper), I git ‘er done.

Now, latest possible moment doesn’t mean last possible minute. A research paper requires, duh, research, and the latest possible moment for a long and complicated piece might be, say, a week or two, while the lead time for a short and simple piece is a day or two. The point is that I’ll almost always have more time than a day or week or two, but will wait until I can feel the deadline before cracking open the word processor.

I have no control over when that feeling arrives. I’ve mentioned previously that I am not a particularly intuitive person and I don’t trust my gut, but this is not anything I’ve been to reason my way through. I can tell myself Get to work!, but unless that stress switch gets flipped by something beyond my comprehension, it ain’t happening.

And I’m fine with that.

That might be the one thing which distinguishes my writing procrastination from every other kind of procrastination: the stress is productive, creative, even. It’s not necessarily a pleasant experience—long days fixated on a required task are rarely pleasant—but I don’t hate it, either. Instead of anxiety scattering my mind, the pressure charges my concentration. I don’t lose focus—I gain it.

Like I said, I don’t know why or how this works for me, I just know that it does, and have been taking advantage of this. . . skill (?) for as long as I’ve had writing due.


. . . Which is another way of stating I’m up against a ghosting deadline, and may be a spectral presence on this blog for the next week.

You can’t get no cornmeal made

28 01 2013

Oh lordy, am I lazy.

The less I have to do, the less I get done.

Now, on the one hand: Duh! If I have two things to do I get fewer things done than if I have 8 things to do, but that’s not what I mean.

No, what I mean is: If you give me large amounts of time in which to accomplish a few tasks, I will. . . not accomplish them. This is less of a problem if I owe work to someone else, but if it’s just for me? Mmmm, no.

Classes begin this week, and while, yes, I have completed my syllabus for my bioethics class (updated, shifted a bit), I haven’t yet bothered to print it out, or to get my shit together for tomorrow.

Hey, that’s what the morning’s for.

And my other class, well, that one doesn’t begin until next week, so hey, I got a whole week to overhaul (as opposed merely to updating) the thing.

Deadlines, man, I need deadlines. Gimme a deadline and I’ll git ‘er done. No deadline, no dice.

Oh, to be self-starting and self-disciplined. . . !