Say those seemingly innocuous syllables — “Schedule C” — to a self-employed American artist, and I can nearly guarantee a shudder or a groan in response. At least a heavy sigh. You might also hear some well-meaning but completely unbelievable assertions of a schedule. To be stuck to. Until it’s finished.
I was so deep into my resistance to tax preparation earlier this week, that a whole flurry of activity erupted – activity that might at any other time be laudable. I made a SoulCollage card about it — called (surprise, surprise!): Procrastination. How often does the subject one hopes to depict get expressed in the very act of creating it?
As I cut and paste these images, it became oh-so-clear how procrastination verges into denial and feeds on addiction. Think of those Venn diagrams they taught us like it was ever-so-critical in third grade and then never mentioned again.
Three equal-sized circles overlapping with their neighbors on the side, and with all three, in the middle. Ah – there’s the rampant TV-watching, butting up to the refusal to look at the calendar, intersecting with the activity that is NOT preparing Schedule C.
You see, when the time starts to get critical – which it is not yet, but will be soon — any activity that is NOT PREPARING SCHEDULE C, is procrastination — no matter how wonderful that activity otherwise would be. In my college years, I became famous for rearranging the furniture the moment it became crunch-time for a lengthy paper – and not just my bedroom, but the entire apartment (unlike overeating or watching endless hours of bad TV, at least rearranging furniture has the side-benefit of stress relief… if you saw me, you would know why this is especially true for me, standing at 5′ 1″ — and, honestly, outside of pianos, I’ve never met a piece of furniture I couldn’t shove to a new position all by myself).
This year, this week, I’ve been cleaning out drawers. Not just a puttering straightening of a few objects — but rather a ruthless re-sorting that invariably involves the entire house (and LOTS OF TIME). It’s almost felt virtuous. But we know better. Procrastination possesses all manner of craft.
Cleaning up in the overwhelming mess of basement-studio, this little scene got arranged. How bad can that be?
Piecing up some scraps from “Ghost House” with remnants from the barn quilts, getting halfway toward a delightful crib blanket. Again, can this so bad? I even worked on the massive Global Warming quilt, completing one lower quadrant — good, right?!
No, no and no!! Until the expenses are logged into excel and the receipts tidied and all the bank statements ordered and gone through, I will not legitimately be working on ANYTHING. It will all be procrastination in disguise!
ah, yes, but productive procrastination! my procrastination is generally much less productive. at least you have some things–beautiful things–to show!
Hmm….sounds a wee bit too familiar
Ali – not ALL my procrastination is productive – for instance, I’m taking a break from American Idol to make this comment.
You too, huh, Margo?!
If only I were using the time to cleanse, organize, clean……something productive. Instead, I’m finding myself standing around, walking in circles, burning time surfing, but not for anything important–doing anything but what needs to be done. Fortunately (?), G has been really sick, so I feel like I have a doctor’s note in my back pocket if I miss a deadline.
laughing-your procrastination looks loads better than mine! though in order to avoid projects that are overwhelming i have been finishing up some handwork projects, but cleaning nothing, organizing nothing, and there was american idol last night….love your row of houses with a timely moon
Procrastination keeps us civiilzed Dee! when else would the windows get washed or discover what’s in all those boxes of stuff in the studio or weed the garden or respond to interesting posts on blogs !
Love all the new projects you have made this week, especially the row of houses with that timely moon (well said Cindy) there is such a wonderful energy in Procrastination, it is a big part of the process of every artist I know & have learned to love it!
& re tax, Old Man Crow & I are self employed and used to pay an accountant to do all the tax prep for us until he was making more money out of the business than I was and had to let him go, bite the bullet and work out how to do it myself. The first year I rang the tax department every day with a list of questions & it took a week, these days it takes 2 days & I really like to think I have saved well over $3000 per year for the past 6 years!
creative procrastination, I’m very good at that, reorganizing the studio for the umpteenth time, ironing every item of clothing I own, or the truly ridiculous and I’ve done it more than once, looking at the pile of fabrics laying on the table and saying…it would just be so much easier to make that pile into something than to put it up! Isn’t that just the ultimate of procrastination insanity. Nice to know I’m not the only one who suffers from such delusions.
i always wait till the last possible moment
so nice to have company on this… I sheepishly admit that my husband does nearly ALL the tax preparation. Truly, I am responsible for Schedule C, and that’s it.
Lisa, I hope G is better! But I know what you mean about how having a sick child allows you to drop everything else and be with that.
I’m appreciating that idea that procrastination is a civilizing force – thanks for that idea, Mo.
Cindy – thanks for the “timely moon” idea… I will be sitting with that some more… (PS with DVR and clicker in hand, I generally avoid almost everything Ryan Seacrest says, so I suppose I’m not a die-hard fan and it takes up LESS time than it would otherwise!)
so, Jude, that means you have another two and a half months>>
There are so many writer procrastination stories–my favorite is the need to make sure all the pencils are sharp (a really neat bit of self-delusion since almost no one uses them for writing anymore) or that all the books on the surrounding shelf are in alphabetical order. I imagine painters need to clean the brushes, singers need to make sure their sock drawers are neat, etc.
FYI, I found Quicken to be a great timesaver for Schedule C…I enter the categories into the ledger when I pay the bill and then when its time, I just tell it to make me a report. It tells me it will as soon as it cleans the cache, backs up the file, etc….
PSS the work you are showing here is so full of energy, great that you are harnessing it for a greater good than taxes!
And how did you make the moon over the house? Did the fabric come that way?
taxes. arrgghhhh! my sister is a part-time accountant. i wonder about our gene pool–how could that be. i’d rather pull my teeth one by one than do that work. or my own. so she does it for me. but now, we have such a simple income that there’s no work involved. this has its advantages–and drawbacks as you can guess. as in hmmmm, what’s to report! but i do understand procrastination–and wonder who in their right mind would do such a thing with eagerness and excitement!
Hi, Dee. Just think. You will feel soooo good when you get it done! I always enjoy seeing your work. Looking forward to seeing the bird woman finished with the orange framing. It sort of extends her.