Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pontificating about Procrastinating - Some Days You Just Need A Primal Scream

Well, good evening!

I'm starting my blog a little earlier than normal tonight.  At the beginning of April, I made a commitment that for Autism Awareness Month, I was going to create a fresh post at my Aspierations blog account each day in April. Here we are almost at the end of the month!

It has so far been rewarding and insightful, although if you check the timestamps on many of my posts, you'll notice that quite a few have come in between 11:30 - 11:59 p.m. and at least 3 - 4 were in the last five minutes of the day.

When I was in high school and college, I remember many assignments that I completed at the last moment.  I had a rough time back then with mental blocks and getting started unless it was a topic that I considered a special interest.  Of course, I was more afraid of NOT turning in an assignment than bailing out on one so inevitably, I'd find myself rushing to meet a deadline. 

Interestingly enough, my last minute work was generally rewarded with good grades so unfortunately, I fell into a pattern with this bad habit.  I guess some would call it working well under pressure.  That may be true but I wish I hadn't caused myself such unneeded stress.

I don't remember doing this in elementary school.  If anything, I would suspect I was more of a teacher's pet, eagerly looking to turn in work, do extra credit, etc. 

Now that I'm an adult and not having to turn in daily or weekly assignments to a teacher or professor, it's easier to see the error of my ways in procrastinating.  That doesn't mean I don't still do it but it is something I am working on improving.

This year, I see the mental block and procrastinating tendency starting to develop with our oldest son and John and I want to work with him to create good study habits, especially before he starts middle school and has to balance multiple classes.

Some days though, no matter HOW hard I try to get started with writing, I just can't seem to get the ideas to flow from brain to fingers.  In an earlier blog, I called this "writer's dam" rather than writer's block because it seemed like a more accurate visual.

On days when I feel like this, I am reminded of an exercise we did once every trimester at our college dorms at UC Santa Cruz / UCSC.  The week before finals was always called dead week.  This meant that since there was a lot of last minute cramming and studying going on, no-one was allowed to play loud music or make a lot of noise after I think it was 10:00 - 11:00 p.m each night. 

On one day though per trimester, at exactly 11:00 p.m. (or 10:00 or whenever it was, that isn't the important part) everyone in the dorms were allowed to go out on their balconies or stick their heads out their windows and do a primal scream.  I'm not sure how long the whole thing lasted, probably a minute but man, did that feel empowering!  Occasionally there was streaking too.  (This was Santa Cruz, after all!  And NO, Mom & Dad, I didn't participate in the streaking!)  When I transferred from UCSC to Cal Poly SLO, they didn't have that and I was bummed.  This was back in the mid-late 80s but I think the tradition at UCSC still carries on today.

Tonight is a night I could use a primal scream.  Unfortunately, being that it is 11:22 p.m. as I am typing this, I don't think that the neighbors would agree.  The kids would sure be into it though!   (We've had our own family primal scream moments!!)

Never underestimate the power of a good primal scream!

See you tomorrow!  Hey, 11:25 p.m., NOT BAD!  I'm improving!

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