I’m having new thoughts on deadlines. This morning, I was up against a deadline for classes both in terms of what I would be teaching and what I would be learning, and after working on it for a while I completely stopped even though the tasks weren’t finished. Instead, I cleaned my bathroom, which I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time. I mean, I cleaned it: spray the mirrors, wipe the countertops, arrange the health products, scrub the toilet, sweep and mop the floor, the works. Even in the midst of this, with time ticking away on unfinished tasks, I thought to myself, “Why am I doing this now?”

It reminded me of an episode of The Simpsons when Mr. Burns opens a casino in Springfield and Marge becomes a gambling addict. In Marge’s absence, Lisa turns to Homer to help her with her pageant costume. Homer tries to help her, but keeps getting distracted in an over-the-top montage that even sees him don a welder’s mask and torch in an attempt to repair the front bumper dents on the pink car. Those dents have been in that car since the first episode. Only then, with Lisa’s pageant moments away and her in desperate need, does Homer decide to finish up this other task.

And here I was, scrubbing my toilet, being Homer.

I want to take this experience and find some helpful twist to it. In the end, I finished up the tasks at hand in time for classes, but I added stress to the situation. I’m going to ponder on this one, see if I can’t find a way for this task-at-hand and task-at-leisure concept can’t amalgamate somehow, and all with less stress. I’m open to your ideas, dear reader.

-nm

[tags]deadlines, the simpsons, unfinished tags, productivity, toilet[/tags]

Tasks At-Hand vs. Tasks At-Leisure

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