There’s a fine line between procrastination and self-care.
I’ve always been a tad on the procrastination personality side. One way I deal with high-stakes anxiety-producing work is by doing low-stakes, low-anxiety work, like grocery shopping, doing lighter homework, or sorting out expired coupons. (I have to be really anxiously avoiding that homework to sort out expired coupons, though, in my defense.)
On the other hand, I know that taking time off, sometimes even significant time off, is really important for one’s mental health.This conundrum, however, of trying to use my time more productively but trying to be cognizant of when I need a break, often leaves me asking the question: “Am I doing [this non-academic or professional thing] for the right reason (staying attuned to my physical and mental health) or the wrong reason (doing any random thing to avoid the task at hand.)”
This week has been a little bit of a lull in my workload; I turned in a third and final piece for workshop, which means my writing is not as pressing, the professor my other course didn’t assign as much reading as usual, and I’m between rounds of grading projects (Hallelujah! That’ll start again on Friday.) In the meantime, I still need to start working on my final piece in one of my courses and trying to work ahead a bit so that when my students’ papers do come in, I can put aside as much time as I need to grade those.
So the focus on this week’s Week in Review is trying to sort through my motivations as I went through my week and trying to identify what was productive (because a lot of it was), what was self-care, and what was procrastination.
- Taught three lessons. For one of them, I just handed out an in-class worksheet because I was losing my voice to a cold and couldn’t lecture. Productive.
- Conferenced with several of my students who weren’t able to meet with me about their projects during my scheduled conference times the previous week: productive.
- Took two spin classes: self-care. I’ve been feeling really strong on the stationary bike and, unless I’m overexercising, I seldom consider exercise be a waste of my time.
- Had a piece up for workshop on Tuesday and got lots of feedback from my classmates: productive.
- Went with some swing friends for a sandwich at Scrumpy’s Cider Bar: productive, in the sense that we were raising money for CSU Swing Dance Society, and self-care, in that I got to spend time with my friends.
- Finished grading my students’ most recent major course assignment: Definitely productive. Felt like poop that day, though–I seem to have come down with some kind of cold–so I went home and crashed for three hours, meaning that I got the students’ papers back to them two hours later than I said I would. Probably self-care on that one, but I still felt pretty schmucky.
- Side note on illness: When I would get a head cold as a little kid, my mom would make me a simple milkshake. We didn’t even have a blender; she’d just put the ice cream in a cup, pour a little milk on top, let the ice cream soften for a minute or two, and smoosh it all together. For the longest time, I thought milkshakes had some kind of medicinal property! They don’t, of course, but I still thought of that gesture of my mother’s when I woke up from my long and much-needed nap. So…I made myself a milkshake with lactose-free ice cream and milk. 😉 It actually did ease my sore throat!
- Posted a new recipe to the blog: productive and delicious!
- Read and commented on lots of other blogs: Is it possible for something to be productive, self-care, and procrastination? Because I think that’s what blog reading has become for me.
- Saw The Danish Girl with my roommate: maybe more procrastination than self-care on this one, considering I had planned to use Saturday evening to finalize the guidelines for my students’ next and final course project. Still glad I saw the movie, though. While folks in the trans* community have made some very important criticisms of the film, I found it very moving and romantic.
- And, finally, helped my boyfriend clean up his yard for the end-of-semester party he’s having next weekend. We also went on a lovely walk Sunday afternoon and the flowers were beautiful–spring flowers really have been stunning in Ft. Collins this week–tulips, blooming trees of all kinds, still a few daffodils hanging around, and lilacs about to pop. (I got a few photos of the lilacs in the neighboring apartment complex–so beautiful!)
Two weeks left in the semester for me, then finals!
How about you. If you’re a student, do you have any finals coming up?
Do you ever have a hard time distinguishing between self-care and procrastination?