Monday, January 15, 2007

Dutiful to Deadlines

The semester starts Thursday. I am in my office trying to put together a syllabus for a new course I am teaching, but the misty fog outside makes me want to go home and crawl up on the couch with Marty (my beagle). I have never understood how other people get their syllabi done ahead of time. Nor, have I understood how people teach the same classes every year so that they don't have to put together a whole new syllabus. And yet, here I am, almost at the last minute, trying to get myself to write this syllabus.

The fact is that I have always been most productive with deadlines looming. If I absolutely have to produce something by a deadline, I will get it done and do a darn good job. If I have nothing but time and flexibility, I flounder. I have a co-author for my major publishing projects. The reason why is that I never want to disappoint her by getting things in late or doing a half-ass job. This has worked wonders for me getting major deadlines met.

I can't help but be in awe by people who are completely self-organizing, who follow strict schedules and who get major projects done without the fear of deadlines or co-authors. What makes such people tick? And why, conversly, do I need to scare the bejeebus out of myself to get anything done?