Theory of work

A couple of days ago, I experienced a moment of epiphany.

I had been getting sick of constantly having my todo list grow bigger and bigger at a faster rate than I can manage them.
“Give me one thing at a time!” I wanted to yell at the world. I mean, I can multitask if I have to, but only for a short period of time, not for a super long continuous period of time. So, lately, I found myself complaining everyday, non-stop.

When a journal paper I had been working on came back with a second round of reviewer’s comments, tragically requesting me to further make revisions to the paper, I felt my sigh dig a hole in the ground.

So I started complaining. On top of all the thesis related work I have to do, these people want me to work on this paper (again!) despite the fact that I have worked on the paper for countless number of months. C’mon, give me a break.

As I felt myself rapidly growing impatient with the world I realized that, despite all the complaining, I sill have to get them all done – all by myself, might I add.

At that very moment, I reached the state of Zen. I could not resist the temptation to reach for the longest piece of paper I could find on my desk, and made myself the following work of art.

This masterpiece, which now sits above my office computer, gave me the courage to tackle the journal paper.

Surprisingly enough, my masterpiece was right (for the moment). I shortened my average complaining time before starting to tackle my todo lists, and I was able to get it done sooner than before. The total time spent in complaining before starting to revise the paper was about … half an hourish I think. Many many times better than before. And it took me a day and a half to revise the paper, which could’ve been three days or more if I spent more time complaining and kicking and screaming about it.

Then, I felt the superficial momentum of work kick in and thought, ‘I should just continue tackling my todo list and finish writing parts of my thesis work while I am at it‘. I felt as though I could finish writing my thesis non-stop from the very beginning until the end.

Henceforth went my long weekend, until…

… until I got sick on Monday and couldn’t do anything but to nap and hang out at home doing nothing. Go figure. Too much work usually comes with a fair balance of consequences.
So there it is. It’s probably true that I can finish my stuff earlier than later if I quit complaining and ‘just do it’. But the reality of it is, my body lets me do only so much work. Bah…!

Then again, I know there’s no way out of this. If I want to finish my thesis asap, I need to keep my engine revving as much as possible, even if it has to halt once in a while. 🙁

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