Funny the World...


May 5, 2000

Here it is 9:30 and I’m writing a diary entry that I generally post at 11 p.m. Why am I writing it now? Because I’m procrastinating. I should be doing some work, but I’ve been going out of my way to avoid it. I’m not sure why. It will get done sooner or later, and I’ll be feeling guilty until it’s done, and yet I find an amazing number of things to keep from starting. I can procrastinate for hours...days...sometimes even weeks.

I don’t know that I’ve always been a procrastinator. Seems to me I used to get things done in a timely fashion. I can still accomplish things on time when I set my mind to it. I just choose to do other things to keep from finishing. How sick is it that I will stop mid-sentence in the middle of a transcription and play a quick game of Free Cell?

Procrastination caught up with me today. I’m in the middle of helping to form a nonprofit corporation and I filed all the papers a couple of months ago. I also had to file a statement about officers and the like. I knew I had plenty of time to do it, so didn’t fret. It took some time to decide who was going to hold which office within the corporation. And then I went to Santa Barbara. And then DC. I knew the date was "sometime in May" and had it in my head that the deadline for filing was May 14. No problem. I’ll do it next week (Walt also files our taxes on April 15, I should point out). To compound the problem, I’d also lost the paper I had to file. Today I found the paper and the deadline is...TODAY!!! So at 3 p.m. I was frantically getting everything together that I was planning to do next week and making a mad dash to the Secretary of State’s office (thank goodness we live close), getting there an hour before the deadline for filing (without paying a late fee). Sheesh. It got done. But was this agitation really necessary?

I can’t believe that with my history of procrastination, I’ve actually asked to be added to a list of journals which update every single day. I wonder how many 4 a.m. sessions that’s going to entail!

I went back to the Shelter this morning. I hadn’t been there in a couple of weeks. What a nice couple of weeks it had been without work at the Shelter. It’s nice, I guess, that there are such constants in life. When I arrived, Ruth asked if I’d type an updated list of volunteer addresses for the purpose of mailing labels. I went into Debbie’s office and the computer was piled high with files and there were three piles of client information cards on the floor, totally eliminating any semblance of a space to put my legs. I had to balance the volunteer binder in my lap and try to type by kind of leaning off to the side. Too bad I didn’t have a camera with me. I’m sure it was quite a picture.

Debbie got back from running and errand and told me to drop what I was doing and start doing some data entry for her. Well, this is such a crock of baloney. This is for grant reporting purposes but the data is essentially useless. For one thing, one client may have been entered into the system several times, because nobody ever checks to see if a name is there before entering it. Secondly, the system won’t let you add duplicate information for the same client on the same day, but if the client’s name has been entered three times, there’s no way the computer knows that. I know it sounds complicated. But suppose John Doe somehow has three different entries in the computer (let’s call them John Doe #1, #2, and #3, though in the system they all just say "John Doe.") Now, John Doe comes to the shelter and gets a bus pass and some food on October 18. You attempt to add that information under John Doe #1 but the computer tells you that it can’t be entered because it would duplicate information already in the system (I should add here that there is no way to check this before entering the information. The only way you know the information already exists is by entering all the new information and letting the computer thumb its nose at you and say "nyah nyah nyah--I already know that, dummy.") BUT, if I somehow had called up John Doe #2 and entered the same information for the same date, it would accept it, even though the information had already been entered for John Doe #1 (see? Computers aren’t all that smart after all. So there.) Consequently this supposedly scientific study of how many clients have used our services in the last couple of years has only a 50/50 chance of being accurate.

I worked for a couple of hours, trying to squeeze in among the stacks of papers, trying to balance the stack of information forms in my lap, and knowing that what I was doing was essentially useless. I finally left early. I went home wondering what I was even doing there in the first place.

But when I got home and discovered the stack of work that I’d left when I went to the Shelter, I knew what I was doing there--I was just procrastinating.

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created 5/5/00 by Bev Sykes