The environment and education system that I grew up in taught me how to think. And so I became a thinker. Thinking is an excellent thing to know how to do. More people should know how to think. Schools taught me that I should think before doing anything. And so I thought about starting, planning, fixing problems, correcting errors, processes, participants, and outcomes. I thought about things so much that I thought I was already done. And then I thought about the next thing.
Turns out the projects weren’t actually done, I only thought they were. So then came the hard part — doing. I don’t feel that school ever really taught me how to do things. Projects and assignments were broken down into such small pieces that I could get away with just thinking about them and putting my thoughts on paper. And still, through my master’s classes, we break projects down into small enough pieces that there isn’t much doing at all. And then, at the end of the year, you add up all the things you’ve thought about into a single project. Congratulations, you’ve completed one full report in three months. Now that you’ve done it once, you will be expected to do one every week for the rest of your career. Turns out that’s a pretty big jump. No wonder kids can’t get jobs.
My AP classes in high school were pretty good about these things. We had 1-2 papers due per week, per class. Talk about productivity. Unfortunately that was during my rebellious phase, and I came close to failing multiple classes for not completing the work. Bummer. College was similar — I kept thinking “why memorize this stuff when I can think my way through them?”. And so I did a lot of thinking. I passed the classes that let me think, and did very poorly in classes like organic chemistry, where you actually had to do more work. So now I’m learning the hard way. Or not. I suppose I’m still stuck thinking, reading, and watching about how to do more things instead of actually doing them. Meanwhile I’m surviving on the little that actually gets done.
So where’s the fix? Accountability? Repetition? Shutting off the internet? Turning off my phone? Removing all distractions?
I’m sure all of those will help. But for now, I’m still just putting thoughts on paper, hoping I’ll do things eventually.
Who knows? Maybe if I think about it hard enough it’ll come to me. Eh, maybe tomorrow. I’ll keep you updated.