Friday, July 20, 2018

Jottings from the Past - Priorities

Tho I wrote this piece some time ago, it still applies to my life.The two 'p's of a writer's life - priorities and procrastination. Yours truly is a casebook example of both! When I really get into something I must force myself to stop when something else just must be done. Laundry? But I still have a pair of pants clean enough to wear again. Cook something because I'm hungry? That's why God made sandwiches! Ah well, I'm still here trying to determine what has the highest priority.
Priority Paralysis
Is priority paralysis a symptom of modern life? Surely not. Was life so regimented in the past that people knew exactly what to do, when to do it? I can’t believe it. Farmers surely had to choose sometimes whether to plow the back forty or mend the roof before threatened rain. In today’s world, we have so many choices that sometimes we feel unable to make a choice. At least I do. The biggest reason I have a problem with choices is that I tend to over-extend
myself. As a result I am pulled in a dozen directions on how to spend my allotted twenty-four hours per day. Maybe I’m paying for my past sin of criticizing people who spend hours watching mindless sitcoms on television or at the computer playing games.
Now I spend hours doing volunteer work on the computer that I would rather be using to polish or create a piece of my own writing. I enjoy doing the things I do, updating websites, answering email questions and sending out announcements, searching for speakers. Most likely if I wasn’t doing things for others I would find way less productive ways to procrastinate. Writers are experts at procrastination, after all. The only thing that motivates writers, sometimes, is a deadline.
The thought crosses my mind that I’d better keep learning new things and attempting to create as long as I can. Because it’s pretty likely the years ahead of me are not as lengthy as the ones behind me. When you’re teaching yourself, the learning curve can be quite steep though – and time consuming.
On the plus side, since I’m retired from a regular job I can set my own hours, for work and sleep. So I tend to stay up late, very late sometimes. If these columns were time-stamped most of them would reveal that they were written in the wee hours. My friends know this, unfortunately telemarketers don’t and wouldn’t care if they did, so friends don’t call too early in the morning. But even if I’ve been up all night, I welcome hearing from friends. They inspire and encourage me and very often they break my logjam of priority paralysis.

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