My job often involves writing and usually I’m writing on subjects about which I know little. I write fund-raising letters that are about medical advances in research and treatment. Sometimes these letters are easy and fun to write – the topic strikes a chord and the people I collaborate with are full if information and ideas. Other times these letters are dreaded and pushed back, mostly because the content is in no way sexy. It’s tough to write a compelling fundraising letter when the talking points you are given include bolus movements or glomerular filtration rates. I know to some people these terms are very important and part of what they live with everyday, but my goodness it’s hard to write about them for a mass mailing.
There are three people on my team and we work in a cubical farm with about 20 others. We’ve always been louder then the other others, but when we are all facing deadlines and are staring down one of the harder subjects group procrastination becomes a big part of our day. We do anything but write. One person has a jammed printer – hooray! – we can all spend the next 20 minutes trying to fix it. A quick question to another about the correct use of a semi-colon turns into a conversation that digresses into a 10 minute discussion of today’s headlines. Our desks have never been more clean and organized. Inevitably paper airplanes and crumpled up papers with jokes on them start flying over cubicle walls in an effort to alleviate the stress. We design elaborate plans for a nap space under our desks like George Costaza. We make up our own definitions for medical terms we don’t know and laugh too loud, annoying the others on the floor.
Eventually there is no more time – you have to finish what you are working on and get it off to the proper parties for approval. We hunker down and slog through the process and the departments always love what we do for them. But procrastinating deadlines can make a day stretch out forever.