Monday, January 5, 2009

Perversity: we has it

If I've sounded a tad snitchy around here lately it's partly because I think my head asplode. Don't ask me why anyone would give any date in early January as a deadline but lots and lots of people, I've discovered, do.

There are currently (ie this week) three urgent work tasks, two of them huge and difficult, one still demanding but regular and comparatively easy. The deadlines are all, um, around nowish.

So can anyone tell me why, to the neglect of the two big bad ones, I'm powering through the relatively manageable one, the one whose deadline is furthest away (like, not for whole days yet) and the only one I am totally unlikely to get a Please Explain hurry-up email about, an email that asks that unanswerable question 'When do you think you'll be finished?', some time between now and the end of the day?


Lefty E said...

Because at least something will be done, and you're clearing the field of view for the main charge.

My mind works the same way. Make it all less messy first. Its subconscious preparation as well.

...or so i tell myself.

Ann oDyne said...

The answer to your query is the same answer as to -

Why do we log on to BlogFace when we should be doing something else?

It.s a Displacement Activity.
Cats do it to (displace, not log on, although some cats might)

I hope somebody gave you the
Can Haz Chsbrgr
book at Christmas.

frog said...

I'm going with Lefty on this one, and I do it myself. I get rid of the manageable stuff (exert some control over my workload), eye off the mindboggling work and deadline and end up powering through it because I have no distractions and I'm terrified I'll be late.

I wish I didn't really work that way but I does.

Stephanie Trigg said...

I think of it as a warm-up. You don't head off into Rachmaninoff before you do your scales, do you?

Mark Bahnisch said...

In my capacity as a book review editor of an academic journal last year, I was one of those evil people who sent out emails stipulating a January deadline. The idea was to remind people that writing the piece they'd agreed to write was on the agenda for 2009, but we fully expected that they could negotiate a later deadline than the rather early one set. In fact, I may have undermined the cunning trickery behind this plan by being a softy and telling people that when I set the deadline!

Elsewhere007 said...

I'm in a very similar position with a mid-Jan deadline that was set a week before Christmas. Very hard to make contact with people & orgs during this time to get relevant info. I don't understand the reasoning behind it at all (and suspected the incompetency of NT bureaucrats) but maybe it's more along the lines of what Mark said. Here's hoping.

Mark Bahnisch said...

I'm on the other end of it as well. The deadline I was set for editing my phd thesis in accordance with the suggestions from the oral defence panel is today. I finished it last night at 2am! But re Elsewhere007's comment - I'm having some difficulty locating someone who's not still on holidays to actually submit it to!