Last week, I decided (realized?) that a key component in my “procrastination” is rebellion against feeling rushed. I really hate feeling that I’m behind as soon as I get up, or that I have to stick to a tight schedule of work on this, take a break at this point, work on that, go to the gym, work on the other, fix dinner, realize that I haven’t done enough. And that’s how things have been going lately. It’s April, the spring Exploding Head Month.

I’d like to live a leisurely life. And by that I do NOT mean that I want to sleep late and spend my time playing golf and shopping. I like my job. I like my students. I like my writing. I just want to get up, read the paper, have a look at the garden to see what’s coming up, maybe go get coffee, then write. Or write first, and then get coffee, and then grade. To take a break every 15 minutes if I’m restless, or not get up for two hours if I’ve hit a “flow” state.

Work gets done this way. It really does. And it gets done with a lot less stress and anguish.

How many of us, in the current craze for “accountability,” are rushing to prove we work hard and are worth keeping around? How many of us would be more effective with a more leisured approach to work? There’s a reason (more than one, actually) that I didn’t go into the business world. I like to work at home, set my own hours, have a lot of autonomy, and yet not be running my own business with all the responsibility and hassles of a small business owner. Academia suits me very, very well. I recognize that I am very lucky to have the job I have, with tenure. I don’t think that that means I have to work in a way that doesn’t suit my personality and that makes me less effective.

I mean, what if the whole point to life is just to be happy? Try that on for a radical thought. What would you do differently if you were maximizing your happiness points? I bet most of my readers (all five or whatever) would not quit their jobs. But I also bet a lot of you don’t like to feel pressured.

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6 thoughts on “Refusing to rush

  1. The entire narrative in this post is on replay in my head. All. The. Time. Love it. Thanks. (Add kids to the mix and, well, OMG).

  2. LOVE this post. I just did an academic survey thing for my discipline that asked (among other things) approximately how many hours a week I spent on grading, class prep, research, etc. And I'm always the first to moan about all the work I have, but when I added up the obvious chunks of time I spent on those things, it just… wasn't that many. And I thought, where the hell does the rest of my day go? But it goes into exactly those leisurely things – I grade for half an hour, and dink around on Facebook for ten minutes, and grade for another half an hour, and play with the cat, and so on. So, sure, I end up working 12 hours a day and most of the weekend, but it's really work interspersed with a lot of chatting with friends and staring out of the window. Which I LOVE,and which makes me in the long run more productive. And happy. 🙂

  3. Bookmarking this post to refer to later, for it is exactly what I needed today and will need again in the future.I think it would help a lot if I were more doggedly compartmentalized about email. And said no to more things. And was more willing to say, "No, Tuesday doesn't work for me" instead of "I guess I could do Tuesday after 2 pm…"

  4. Yes indeed. I absolutely hate to feel rushed and I also don't need to rush as I am quite quick. But for some reason people keep hurling all these things at me about speeding up — I guess because my birth coincided with the beginning of the tenure track for Dad, but the thing is that it was said so much, for no good reason, in graduate school that somewhere along the line, during one of my assistant professorships, someone said it again and I just couldn't take it, and I stopped.

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