Sunday, September 14, 2008


If there is one academic pastime I would like to give up, it would be fretting.

I am referring to worrying and being vexed, not corrosive fretting of metals and other materials, though it does sound somewhat similar in its ability to "wear and corrode." In this case, I am referring to the wearing of one's nerves and the corrosion of one's sense of well-being.

I have spent far too much of my time worrying about all of the work I *wasn't* getting done. Vacations, eating out, watching TV, relaxing with friends, reading the newspaper, attending events on campus--each of these has been invaded by the fretful thoughts that I just wasn't doing enough.

This feeling of fretfulness is bad all the time, but it is even worse when I am being especially unproductive. I start listing in my head (and sometimes on paper) all of the tasks I should be doing, but I never take the next step and map out what I will work on and in what order. Instead, I eye the list and fret. It is a terrible feeling, and it doesn't help at all. In fact, it makes matters worse. I begin to feel both guilty and incapable of acting on the list.

So, instead of fretting my night away, I have decided to ignore the undone tasks tonight. I will eye the list tomorrow morning, prioritize the tasks, and start setting aside times to complete them--especially the writing that I have been avoiding. I will make a plan to be productive.

Once I start working on the tasks, I know the fretting temporarily will subside. For now.


the Pshrink Rapper said...
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the Pshrink Rapper said...

Fretting isn't just academic.

Although it is nearly 5 on a Monday afternoon, I have done little to prepare for the classes I have to teach on Wednesday. I have clients at my office all day tomorrow (Tuesday) so it won't get done then. It's tonight or nothing.

At the same time, I have a consult with a teen's parents tomorrow for which I need to (a) score and interpret some testing, and (b) finish writing a proper treatment plan, for which I need to also (c) review some research.

And, I'm starting to get registered mail about my recredentialing packets for various managed care organizations. AACK!

If I am creating powerpoint slides for class I won't be working on my case. If I do the work for the case, I won't even be able to start on class prep until tomorrow evening.

Making a list and prioritizing when I'm this far behind is little help. It's mostly a question of putting out the fire that is burning closest to my [a valuable part of my anatomy]at the time. It's impossible not to continue to fret about the other fires!

I feel for you, Doc. I feel for you.

sherishu said...

To me, the funniest thing is to fret while procrastinating by writing/reading blogs about fretting!

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