Saturday, November 12, 2011

Working Ways

Today, I have been sadly uninspired when thinking about this blog. I could say it's because I've been preoccupied with work, but that would be a dirty lie, because, even though I have a metric butt-ton of work to do this weekend, I have not yet begun to work. Well, actually, that's not quite true, I'm in phase one. Maybe the best way to go on this post is to explain my working strategy.

Phase One: Preparation. 
This is the part where I get ready to work. This may last five minutes, or five hours, depending on how much I do not want to get started. In this phase, I sort through my assignments, and decide which ones should have priority. I typically go through the folder in which I keep my completed assignments, and file them. Sometimes I create a new folder, and drag things into it...again, this is really dependent on how very much I do not feel like working. Sometimes I rename things.

Next, I open as many word documents as I need for the day's assignments. I put in the titles, a summary of the assignment, any pertinent links, and whatever else I feel I need to get started. Another part of preparation is deciding which of the television shows I've dvr'ed will provide the background distraction for my inner dumb guy whilst I work. Now it's time to move forward.

Phase Two: Break Time

Clearly, all that preparation has earned me a break. Look how cleaned out my folders are! They are practically shiny! And my word docs are all ready for me to put words on them. Now I need coffee, and maybe, a snack.

Phase Three: Words with Friends
Now, to the untrained mind, this might look like an extension of phase two. Far from it! How will I ever have enough words to write with unless I hone my word-thinking-up skills by playing Scrabble.

Phase Four: Reboot the Computer
Words with friends always freezes my computer.

Phase Five: Easing back in. 
Now that my computer has rebooted, I should really check my email. Also, I should see if everything's going well with my friends on my "mommy board". And I probably should check my bank balance. If there's money in there, I should balance my budget spreadsheet and maybe pay a bill or two. After all,  I wouldn't want the power going off while I'm in the middle of all this work I'm doing!

Phase Six: Research
During this phase, I read many articles about my topics. The number of articles is directly related to how much I already know about the topic. If, say, I'm writing a post about how to throw a child's birthday party, I read one, maybe two articles, because, seriously, I already know how to do that. If, on the other hand, I am writing on new computer hardware, or how much torque a Mercedes engine has (what does that even mean?), I read about fifty thousand articles. I look up words in the subject matter, and search for articles based on the words I have found in the definition. I copy and paste pertinent text. Note: I do not actually write during this phase.

Phase Seven: Deep Thinking
This is also known as the "Go Fish" phase, wherein I play a game with my Small One, or if she's at school, I might vaccuum a room or do a run of laundry. This may not seem like working, but seriously, this is when I get some of my best work done.

Phase Eight: Words into Docs
Having come up with brilliant intros during my deep thinking time, I pound them onto the page with astounding clarity. Sometimes I get so inspired that I write entire posts during this phase, though that is not a terribly common occurrence. Regardless, this is the phase in which I am head down in my work, oblivious to anything that may be going on around me.

Phase Nine: Recess
This is the part where I play Mahjong, or take the dog out, or play with the cat, or the kid, or play anything to keep from having to think about torque or Pentiums, or what have you. Phases eight and nine often alternate across several cycles, depending on how hard the topics of my post.

Phase Ten: Wherein I mimic that guy from Sesame Street.
Remember the musician from Sesame Street? The one who would pick out tunes on the piano, get halfway through, forget the lyrics, and then bang his head on the keys, crying "I'll NEVER get it right! Never never never!" That's me in phase ten. Sometimes I really and truly determine that I can't possibly make deadline, which is when I write to my editor and ask for an extension. Most times I just despair of ever finding the right words to complete my assigned tasks. This is a great time to go pick up Small from school, and maybe go to the grocery store.

Phase Eleven: I am a Supergenius. 
Look at that! I have deceived people into thinking I understand torque! Unbelievable! This is where I turn in my work, and pat myself on the back, and do something I actually want to do, like sleep, or snack, or watch tv that requires me to pay attention, or, yes, play Words with Friends. My confidence is back, I'm on top of the world, and I am DONE with work. Until tomorrow.

How about you? Are you laughing at me or with me? How does your process happen?

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