I am due to present my first research paper in just under three weeks to a potential audience of 100 people. Among those attending could be some of the leading academics in my field. So, no pressure! Although I am nearly ready with my paper, there have been prolonged bouts of procrastination! You’d think I would have learned by now, at this stage of my academic life, but sadly not. I remember many a late night spent panicking, trying to throw together an essay or cramming for an exam. Even though I have put many hours into this paper, there have been days and nights when it has been difficult to focus and I thought that I would never reach my deadline.
Here are my top things I do when procrastinating:
- Make copious photocopies of periodical articles and highlight paragraphs in said articles until look like they have been assaulted by a five-year old with a highlighter pen.
- Organise notes and articles. Do a general clean up of thesis papers from the last two years. This includes files on the hard-drive.
- Wander aimlessly through the university library, browsing through books. Perhaps have a little snooze on a comfy couch, if another procrastinator has already stolen a spot. This usually kills a few hours.
- Write a blog. Check site stats. Check site stats. Check site stats.
I am sure this does not just apply to me!
- Go on Facebook and press the refresh button every five minutes, almost willing people to upload photographs!
- Spend time with the children because I feel guilty they are going to forget who I am if I am not at home.
- Bake, cook, garden. Take photographs of it all and post a blog on WordPress.
- Clean the crap of the bookshelf which acts as our repository for bills, important letters etc. which has accumulated for three months. It’s not like it cannot wait another few weeks, right?
- Clean the walls and skirting boards. Somehow procrastination makes me see all the streaks, dust and dirt in the house and I MUST clean it.
- Go to bed. I blame this partly on my children waking me at 6am every morning. So my excuse is that my brain does not function past 9pm.
My research desk - note a WordPress blog on the computer!
Then the guilt overwhelms me, the panic sets in and I throw myself into it. Back to reality…
What do you do to waste time when you should be doing something important?
I work in a most amazing place that is steeped in history. It is a house that has been standing for two centuries and has seen people from all corners of life walk through its doors. I feel like I walk among ghosts when I wander through the endless warren of corridors. In its youth, this mansion was full of grandeur, entertaining the wealthy and beautiful lords and ladies of Dublin in the early 1800’s. The architecture suggests affluence and the grounds are extensive. There is a walled-in Victorian garden at the end of the property where a curvilinear glasshouse still stands. It is my dream to have this restored to its former glory. I think it dates back to before 1850. There are magnificent views of Dublin Bay. The grounds outside the estate were popular with the gentry of that time for hunting. This is a sketch of the house, dated 1867. The original house can be seen on the right hand side. It had a massive conservatory which housed many exotic plants, but sadly no longer stands there today. A viewing tower was constructed as one of the lords who occupied the house was in love with the scenic views.
In 1863, a religious order took ownership and it became a school and convent. The nuns constructed the left-wing, which was attached to the original house. The following photograph is of one of the ladies who attended the boarding school, taken c. 1870. The school was originally a poor-school but it soon became popular with the higher classes in society as the quality of education given by the nuns was excellent. It was not long before the daughters of the rich began attending. This is evident from the school registers which record the addresses of pupils at that time.
The voices of the nuns are now also but a whisper, just as the occupants before them. The nuns have moved out of the convent since 2007 as the house was too big for them to manage. They are a dying breed unfortunately. Many of them are quite elderly now. The school has taken over the use of the convent, holding lectures and meetings there. The house still preserves the smell of history and the shadows of eras gone by.
Really?! I mean, children are so easily amused. Take my children for instance. Plonk them onfront of the washing machine and they pretend that they are in the cinema.
What kid doesn’t love getting messy with a paint brush, paper and bright colours. This is always a winner until the kid tries finger painting. Then it is time for some disaster management!
A favourite past-time is by far flicking through the many, many books they have on their own dedicated book shelves. You know when it has gone all quiet that they are sitting happily sifting through and reading their books. Either this or they are up to no good…
When it is not raining outside, no child wants to be stuck indoors. So on with the wellies and off out with them to explore, dig for worms, smell new blossoms and generally act the maggot.