Without fail, my three biggest pitfalls  [read: homework deterrents] between Friday and Sunday are food, cleaning, and to-do-list-making.

Food is, obviously, a necessity, so of the three it’s probably the easiest for me to justify. “I’m not really hungry, but it is getting close to dinnertime. I should make dinner, because I’ll need my strength to be productive,” I reason.

I will then do one of two things: I’ll go grab fast food because I’m too unmotivated to cook something, or I’ll be an adult and break out the pots and pans. In either case, I will inevitably end up watching an episode of The Office or Modern Family or whatever else I can find, rationalizing that it’ll take me 20 or so minutes to eat, and since I’m eating, I won’t be able to use my hands for typing or reading anyway.

More often than not, however, what happens is I’ll finish eating after only about 10 minutes, but then for some reason I decide I can allow myself another 20-minute episode after the first one is over. Because, y’know, what’s 20 minutes in the grand scheme of things?

Cleaning, like food, is another necessary activity, and it’s also a productive one.

Of course, I could clean some other time, but I find clutter especially distracting while I’m trying to work. I also tell myself that cleaning will get me into a productive mood, which will enable me to sit right down and plow through everything that’s due next week in one sitting.

That might be sound logic, but I have yet to successfully go from cleaning to homework-doing without encountering some kind of distraction somewhere in the midst of the process. Cleaning, consequently, usually takes much longer than it should, leaving me exhausted, apathetic, and whiny rather than in the proverbial “zone.” Sometimes I decide that the next thing I should do is make lunch or dinner.

And finally, to-do lists — the most deceptive of my pitfalls. Making a list, itemizing exactly what needs doing and plotting a time when I will get it done, makes me feel as though I have actually accomplished something, when really all I’ve done is plan when I will accomplish other things. In my false sense of accomplishment, usually what follows is cooking or cleaning.

And thus goes the vicious cycle of good intentions.


3 thoughts on “Weekends

  1. Oh, and because I don’t have a car or a kitchen, I usually end up complaining about being hungry and texting people to see if they’ll take me to go get food for like 45 minutes, followed by the show watching when I finally get food.

  2. You have just described every Saturday of my college life.

    Lifehacker.com has tons of stuff on productive to-do list making, and I’m pretty sure they’ve even done articles on how to avoid using the to-do list as a replacement for actual productivity.

    Also, I’ve found that even just 20-30 minutes of cleaning a day makes a HUGE difference. I always think it’s going to take forever, but after a half hour our apartment looks so much better. I’m still working at it, but I figure if I can manage to clean for 30 minutes a day I’ll be less tempted to devote my entire weekend to cleaning (because I won’t really need to).

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