Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I have now reached that place, in both my work life and my knitting life, where I have so many different projects on the go that it is entirely possible for me to spend all of my time figuring out what I should be working on, rather than working on anything at all.

Does anyone else recognize this state?

You know, the one where it feels like you're standing in the middle of a room, turning in circles, thinking, "This, I'll work on this. But no wait! What about that? That requires immediate attention. Except for that other thing, which requires even immediater attention. But wait again! Where's my list?" Ad nauseum. Et cetera. Ad infinitum. (And other a propos Latin phrases.)

That's where I am.

In fact, listing all of the projects that I am not currently working on but that I should be working on has become a new project all in its own right. This strikes me as wrong, but I'm so busy engaging in this (possibly avoidance-related) behavior that I can't seem to stop. So I thought I'd share my lists with you (because I'm all about spreading the joy).

On the knitting front, the active WIPs now include:
Maplewing, which has only about 24 rows and the neck edging to go until it reaches completion;
Younger Daughter's rainbow socks, which are about 2/3s of a foot from completion (one of those feet with five toes, rather than the kind with twelve inches);
The anemone socks, from last year's Rockin' Sock Club (as an aside, I just accidentally typed "Rocking" there, and boy does that look wrong. Why is it that "rocking" is so much less rockin' of a word?). I'm almost done with the first one, but since (last I checked) I have two feet, that means I'm less than halfway done;
Rick's gridiron socks, which are languishing badly. I'm choosing to believe that the problem there is the needle/yarn combination, and that, now that they're on other needles, they will knit up like the wind once I pick them up again. Given the oft-mentioned size of R's feet, the more logical part of my brain thinks that the hopeful part of my brain is completely whackadoodle;
The pretty little scarf that I started and completely forgot to mention to you all (mea culpa), but which is about halfway done unless I decide I hate it and rip it out;
The sweater cozy, from the second Mason/Dixon book, which seems like it should be a fast knit but, it turns out, isn't;
Plus the three projects that I'm so dying to start that it already feels like they're on the WIP list (as if this delusional process didn't add to my stress), which include the little lace shell I'd like to knit for myself, the linen/flax shell I want to knit, and the beaded socks from January's Rockin' Sock Club installment.

And that's just the knitting. On the work front, there's:
The teaching grammar that I said I would write on my sabbatical (I may have even signed notarized paperwork to that effect, but I'm in denial);
The paper that I wrote ages ago that should be revised and resubmitted to the lovely journal that suggested that I do just that (I haven't signed any notarized paperwork about that one, thank goodness);
The other paper that I wrote ages ago that needs some buffing and polishing so that it can be sent out into the world to make its own way;
The paper that I presented last summer that I haven't started writing but really should (see how I keep adding pre-WIPs to my lists?);
The paper that I'm supposed to present at a conference the first weekend of April (this one's really making my hyperventilate);
The Institutional Review Board Human Subjects application that I need to write so that I can get approval to interview Human Subjects (that would be y'all, in case any clarification were needed) about knitting, being a knitter, and all things knitterly;
Plus all of the other little odds and ends that make up an academic life, like thinking about syllabi for next semester, looking at the proofs that I just got via email this week, responding to various whackadoodle emails from various colleagues, et cetera, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

So, what am I doing about all of it? Apparently, I'm writing a blog post.


Maybe I should go stand in the middle of that room again and look for something to do.


Jane said...

Think it happens to all of us, know that feeling only too well. Then I get annoyed with myself because I could have accomplished so much more if I had just got on with it.

Anonymous said...

What you are doing is fibrillating. If only we could have life defibrillators, like we have heart defibrillators.

Anonymous said...

What you are doing is calmly and methodically setting out a course of action that you could follow if only you had several clones.

I vote the April paper goes to the top of the list myself.

Anne said...

It's a Moebius strip of a list. I totally sympathize. Can you go for a walk and see how it sorts out while you're actually in motion?

Nana Sadie said...

April paper, then the human studies app. 'Cause time's a-wastin' (which I love like you do "rockin'")
Knitting? Hon that's the DE-stressor, need to visit Margene for a dose of Zen on knitting. Is Rick's sock stockinette in the round? Perfect ZEN...

Anonymous said...

Only too familiar a feeling...

Which is why I'm reading blogs instead of charting.

(orange sleeves are happening in my house! I wonder what kind of cuff they need?)

Anonymous said...

Writing about something is the first and most important step towards organizing it.

Rachael said...

The good thing about having so may WIPs is having a month or two when it feels like you just keep finishing things.

But I know what you mean, I feel like that at work quite a bit, but at least it keeps me busy.

Just pick one knitting thing and work on it until you can't stand it any more and then move to something else. OR you could do what they say to do with credit card debt, pay off the one closest to zero (that being your almost done wip) then the next highest balance, and so on, so you get immediate gratification to fortify you to keep going on the next project.

Or you could cast on for something new, that's probably what I'd do. :-)

Lynne said...

I empathise!

My office needs some organisation - a wedding and then a five day teaching load for the past four weeks [which included some assessing] have put me way behind with the paperwork that comes with academia!

Not to mention the boxes that need unpacking from the redecorating that happened in late 2007!!

Anonymous said...

A close commentary of my life, with details changed. :{

EGunn said...

Oh, I hear you! Just make a list. A big list. Everything on one page with itty bitty writing (well, maybe one for work and one for knitting). Then, just pick something that you wouldn't hate doing right now, and do it. That's where I am right now; it's all due, past due, about to be due, and it's all the Most Important Thing. So I close my eyes and take a stab at the list, and just start there. I actually get a rather amazing amount done that way (or at least it amazes me when it happens).

And on the knitting, I think I'd just tell it all to sit back and wait, darn it. You're the boss - no need to let it bully you. =)

I can't believe you need Human Subjects paperwork to chat with people about knitting. Talk about making things complicated, huh? I guess that's research for you, though. Good luck with the lists!

Mary Lou said...

I am in the same situation. My coworker and i spent a couple of hours the other morning plotting the next few months and trying not to hyperventilate or go get drunk. And this didn't include any knitting. I'm all about the stimulus package and recovery act these days, exciting but exhausting. My knitting is getting simpler and simpler to compensate.

Alwen said...

I'm just glad I'm not the only one who reacts to deadlines and project pressure by starting something completely different.

Bea said...

Oh my. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about all that. Totally.

Anonymous said...

Rockin' Sock Club: Members have lives that keep them up-to-date and in the thick of things where as Rocking Sock Club: members have rocking chairs that take them just about as far as a rocking chair can take you!! What a difference a lil' " ' " makes as you said!

Helen said...

I've been thinking lately, 'Gosh, Jocelyn's doing a lot of knitting for someone who has a job,' and this explains everything.

But I'm glad to hear that your brain has a logical side and a hopeful side too.