Work and Procrastination

Yesterday evening I went over and hung out with my friend Lin and watched a couple of episodes of The Simpsons with her, one of which was “The Book Job” (which can be seen as of when I posted this entry on Hulu), in short an episode on ghostwritten young adult novels and it features the lovely Neil Gaiman. You should watch it.

I bring it up because there’s a scene in the show that pretty much sums up my experience as a work from home front end web developer / writer. Lisa decides that she’s going to write a book on her own, and in the process of which she does pretty much everything except write her book. It becomes a procrastination fest of “Oh! Just one more round of this game and I’ll get started.” and “Oh! Just as soon as a reorganize my CD collection and I’ll get started.” I just found myself sitting there watching and thinking to myself, “Oh good grief! That’s me some days!”

Which is precisely why I’m sitting here writing this godforsaken blog entry right this very minute, don’t you know? I’m having a serious case of the procrastinasties (Yes, I just made that word up. Shut up.)

I’m currently on a project work wise that involves that little thing we call responsive web design. For those of you who are reading this and aren’t web developy designy people… responsive web design is just a concept about designing websites that are flexible and degrade elagently when you make the browser window bigger or smaller. For an example, take a look at Owltastic and see what happens when you make her site smaller, the right sidebar suddenly becomes a footer, the header graphic size changes based on how big it is, once you get below a certain size her left sidebar disappears because it’s not so important that it be there if you don’t have the screen space, etc.

The whole point of doing this is so the site looks pretty on your desktop AND on your TV AND on your Android phone AND on your iPad AND any other device that you happen to be able to look at websites on without having to make separate layouts for each of these things. It just resizes nicely based on whatever width you have available.

I’ve never made one of these before and well, despite the fact that writing the last two paragraphs made me feel a little bit excited… I’m doing that thing where I dig in my heels and want to do everything else on the Internet because you know, I haven’t done this before and it’s big and scary and OH MY GOD! DO YOU MEAN I ACTUALLY HAVE TO LEARN SOMETHING!?

Sigh.

Excuse me while I go do my dishes for a moment.

Okay, back.

The thing about working in the web development industry is that you’re constantly being expected to learn stuff. It’s not a bad thing. It’s one of things that makes the work challenging and exciting. It’s also one of those things that can make the work intensely stressful… Especially when you’re trying to learn something completely new AND you’re working on a tight deadline.

I certainly can’t speak for anyone else, but I go through these periods where I just want to throw myself down in the middle of the floor screaming “NO!” and flailing like a tantruming child who doesn’t want to do her homework when I’m asked to learn yet another new thing. But like the tantruming child, I eventually calm down and do my work and learn something new.

I won’t lie. I feel like it’s been a bit of a rough road the past year for me workwise.

Prior to this year, I worked making websites for rockstars at a major record company for two years. It was one of those jobs that people look at your resume and say, “That’s so cool!” Except for the fact that it wasn’t really… I didn’t use my brain most of the time I was working there. I barely learned anything new, I just churned shit out and tried to argue against implementing anything that would make my life exceptionally difficult. And by exceptionally difficult, something that would require me learning something.

When I came out on the other side, it was a different world. I could barely remember how to build a Drupal site because I’d worked somewhere for so long where I wasn’t allowed to enable new modules. And there were all these new modules that people were using all the time…. Features and Contexts…. “Where the hell did all this shit come from when I wasn’t looking?” I wondered.

It’s been a lot of trying to get back on the horse and feeling a little resentful that it’s no longer a horse, they’ve done gone made it a horseless carriage on me.

Okay, so it’s really not that bad. I just psych myself out a lot.

I also am REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY distractable when I’m putting off doing something.

I mean, I’ve watched Episode 1 of the Dresden Dolls 2006 Tour Documentary series (which can be found here, and part of The Muppet Family Christmas and about four chapters of Erika Lopez’s Flaming Iguanas (the end is so close I can almost taste it), and I did the dishes, ate a bowl of chili and I’m on my second blog entry of the day.

If I’ve done all that shit today, that means I’m putting something off. Seriously.

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