May 31, 2006

Cafés and deadlines.

The air conditioning in my favorite café is broken, so I've had to set up in my fallback café, where I usually sit in the front. But there's a little back area. I almost never sit here, but it beckons me today, maybe because I have some work to do and there, that table by the back garden window: didn't I once sit there and write an op-ed in three hours to meet a deadline? That's my magic table. Well, it was. I'm not getting that much done. I think it's not so much the table as the deadline. Right now, the deadlines aren't close enough. I see them approaching. I'm uneasy -- enough to push myself a bit. But I've been through this too many times. Right now, I'm at the stage where I think this is how I always feel when the deadline is at this distance. I always think I've got to get to work, and I always dawdle and wheel-spin. The deadline needs to be closer. I may as well laze and luxuriate.

12 comments:

Brendan said...

How long does it take to grade a typical final exam?

Dave said...

How long does it take to write a typical op-ed?

Bissage said...

How long does it take to write a typical blog post?

MadisonMan said...

How long does it take to drink a venti latte?

Joe Baby said...

How long does it take to play a quick game of Sudoku?

jeff said...

How long does it take to get online?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I hope you leave a really big tip to compensate for sitting for hours at a table in a resaurant and costing them revenue.

Ann Althouse said...

Dustbunny: It's a café. The whole point is that people stay forever! 3 hours is nothing.

Ann Althouse said...

"How long does it take to grade a typical final exam?"

It's not a question of time, but of concentration. If one could maintain the concentration, it would not take long at all. You can set aside the time, but you can't will the concentration. You need the deadline.

I also have a non-exam deadline that is before my exam deadline, so I'm orchestrating deadlines and trying to maximize efficiency.

Ann Althouse said...

"How long does it take to write a typical op-ed?"

Again, it's a matter of concentration. Would you agree to write an op-ed with only a 3-hour window to get it done? Even if you felt you could write it in 1-hour, it would be nerve-wracking to have only a 3-hour window.

An op-ed might seem like nothing more than a blog post, but belief me the pressure is totally different. The fun of writing a blog is the freedom from the pressure you feel with other writing. A longish blogpost takes 20 minutes to write. It's all in the mind!

Dave said...

Ann: I wasn't implying anything by my question.

I've never written an op-ed, so I don't know what kind of time commitment it is.

Alan Kellogg said...

Have you ever noticed that when the subject inspires you the writing is done quickly? But when you find the subject tedious the writing takes forever?