Ok, time to regroup - enough of the existential, the metaphysical and the unanswerable. It is time to plunge back into the moment, the now, the present. Indeed, although it’s not like I’ve been obsessed with some kind of existential quest, reading my recent posts might lead one to believe so. In point of fact, I’m once again awash in reality - swamped, actually. There is much to do and not a lot of time to do it.
These are the optimal conditions for me, a sweet spot where deadlines create just the needed pressure to motivate me but not so much pressure that I am in over my head. It’s a balancing act I have become quite adept at and recent results from mid-term exams indicate that my balance is dead-on. However, it is a tightrope that leaves little room for the unexpected. Fortunately, I have a little “surge” capacity… just enough space to squeeze just a little more time if the unexpected rears its ugly head.
How does that work? If I wait until the deadline is looming and there is just enough time to complete everything, where, pray tell, am I going to find “extra” time? I mean, they’re still only putting 24 hours in a day, right? Usually the time is borrowed from sleep time. Although I rely on sufficient sleep every night, I can get by with less when necessary. If needed, a lot less. Time can also be liberated from low priority tasks and routines. Grocery shopping, laundry and other important but not immediately pressing chores can wait when a deadline gets a turbo boost from forces beyond my control.
So why not start sooner and be done well before the deadline arrives? That’s a good question and one that has no single or simple answer. It has as much to do with how I am built as it does with the nature of the writing business. Often, it is a matter of triage. There are a number of tasks to be accomplished, each coming due at different times. It’s not just a matter of chronology, though timing does play a role, but I must also consider the time needed and the availability of sources. They have to be scheduled and coordinated when they’re ready, not when I am.
It still comes down to balance though. If there aren’t at least a couple of balls in the air, I’ll wait until there are. I never have to wait long - the pressure starts building and in no time I’m booked for several days. Such is the case this weekend. By Monday night, I have a story due, a re-write due, and a take-home midterm due. On Wednesday night there’s another paper due and Wednesday afternoon I have to have four prints mounted for my photography mid-term. I just finished two other midterms (both "A"s, thank very much) and two papers ("A" on one, still waiting for the other).
Triage. I knew this other stuff was pending, but the assignments and tests I just enumerated were pending first. And there is always something cooking on the back burner. It will be a busy weekend and as much as I am looking forward to the excitement of it all, I am also looking forward to it all being done. But I know that it’s never really over, it’s just a brief respite because that pot on the back burner will start to boil soon enough.