Project R Post-mortem from GeorgeSmiley
Project R was a case study in how my procrastination ends up sabotaging my efforts and making me miserable.
The assignment--a feature story that I am distinctively, if not uniquely, positioned to write--was proposed in the spring. I accepted it enthusiastically.
I started off with a number of interviews and made some progress. What I did not do is the sort of advance planning and analysis of the basic idea that would help me better organize the interviews and, subsequently, the writing. I kept saying I was going to, but it always seemed to be less important than 1) Just doing the interviews and research, going in whatever direction, and 2) whatever else was more urgent at the time.
So by the time I needed to write something I had a mass of information, but no really well-thought-out organizing idea. Which is why I was stuck trying to write it for 3 weeks. In time, I managed to pull it together, and eventually I'll probably look at it and say, 'Not bad.'
But getting there was horribly painful and disappointing.
The kicker is I have successfully used in the past some very helpful techniques for assembling, organizing, and prioritizing information for stories of just this kind. I've been re-reading this week my favorite book on this topic. When I have used these techniques, the process has been better. But I tend to ignore these techniques or push them to the side as "well, I don't have time to do that today." (That's why Steven's post about already having everything we need resonated so strongly with me.)
That brings up another recurring habit: I have a lot of difficulty exploiting small chunks of time. Say, I've finished a task and I need to leave for an appointment in 15 minutes. I'm more likely to spend that 15 minutes in an aimless task rather than getting started on some more important one.
So along with my big picture schedule, and along with my daily MITs, I'm looking here for help and encouragement on these two habits:
1) Making more time at the beginning of big projects to plan them strategically; and 2) making more aggressive use of short windows of time that arise unpredictably.
As always, I welcome any feedback and I treasure the community here as a place for safety, encouragement, support, and accountability. Thank you all.