All the Small Things to Get Through Submissions

This blog is for people (if there are any) that currently struggle with deadlines as an anxiety stressor, within this class or any other. This advice comes from my experiences as both an undergraduate and grad student that still struggles with anxiety and the ways I’ve developed an outlook which attempts to assert some form of control over something as rigorous and labor intensive as a twenty-paper research paper or even a five-hundred word blog. This advice comes with the caveat that like any other form of suggestion this can be simply seen as another method to approach not the only perspective to see. Tackling the last (insert total) submissions might seem to be a tedious task. It is. This blog seeks to show the ways in which treating tedious tasks as they are such as rewriting the same poem over and over can create a perspective that enables the worker an ability to see tasks as not as impossibilities but work. That through labor and patience this work can be done, sometimes even on schedule.

Work and Perspective

I am advocating for a perspective that seeks a detachment when measured and practiced whether in many semesters or on simply an eight to five schedule becomes a healthy method of balancing your own relationship between seeing work in its many forms simply as work, and in relief of such perspective finding the willingness to accomplish such work. Which might appear to be obvious to the reader today, but under some poor circumstance of a task triggering an anxious response might become an overwhelming, such as a research paper, a double shift, a collaborative presentation. Any of which can alongside the natural anxiety of deadlines can simply become incredibly difficult to process if the ability to see what the work requires becomes akin to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, then healthy detachment can be used to ground the details down to the bare work required. Maintaining a healthy detachment creates a necessary filter to approach going through all 200+ submissions or going through dozens of articles for research papers or any another numerous forms of drudgery that must get done, an ability to move past getting stuck on a perfectionist ideal to every step of the process but a fidelity to the worker themselves. One that still requires professional attention and candor but also the ability to continuously chip away knowingly in tedium, not overwhelmed by the significance or in avoidance of the workload but in cognitive control of what is asked by such work and the required labor required to accomplish such labor.

In Praise of Tedium

If there’s anything to be found underneath the driest text, or the silent chipping away is that tedium is the simple practice and application of experiences of previous work, and the joy and excitement of each experience building upon itself in new, sometimes unforeseen direction can give tedious tasks the opportunity to be rewarding in their own way. There is unassumingly a great relief I’ve found of being D-O-N-E with a paper, no matter the length nor the number of rewrites or whatever difficulties produced, just the tension removed and the tedium of performing such a task giving the worker a detached eye to the work itself to be seen in a less myopic perspective. Or even simply being tasked with something or some subject once thought of out of interest, can under healthy detachment of tedious work become a new way to engage were previously untouched ground, poetry can be fun, submissions can blow away all expectations, if you simply allow work to be work. 

Gavin Smith
Gavin Smith

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