Productive Procrastination

One week before summer semester begins. Freedom fettered to a long To-Do list. The priority items are done (submit grades for Spring Term, turn in syllabi for Summer Term, pay bills, finish a webinar outline and proposal, e-mail my latest column) but the other items on the list are not very exciting.

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day Sharpening the Saw. (Before you assume I’m devising a murderous plot or preparing to complete some DIY home renovations, STS is the Franklin-Covey term for down time. I call it “refilling the well.” The two fastest ways for me to regroup and replenish are to read and spend time outside. Since I often read at the pool or on the lanai – and I have a peaceful view of wildlife at a pond surrounded by white pine, cypress, palmetto, and palm trees in both locations — the well refills (or the saw stays sharp) rapidly. But after a day devoted to STS/RTW, I feel guilty spending the rest of the day listening to the breeze swish the trees around while I read at the pool.

One item still on the list is to reorganize my office. It’s sort of trashed because I’ve been dumping bags, Scantrons, and unclaimed student papers in a corner by the file cabinet. Instead of sorting through and filing these papers, I decided to sort through old computer files. What can I delete or move to a CD?

Before long I discovered all sorts of old writing projects, the beginning of new stories and character sketches. I spent a good part of the day at my desk reading old files. I’ve moved most to a CD but also selected three that sound interesting. I’m already building a world for one – several short stories centering around the same two characters could evolve into a novella, possibly a novel. Another I originally intended as a picture book seems better suited to an early chapter book.

So, I was productive, but not in a way I had planned for during this short break between semesters. Tomorrow I wanted to tackle the file cabinet and weed old files for storage. I wonder what gems I’ll find there. I can’t wait to discover another “new” project.

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