I didn't win any awards for that one.
So yeah. I have a long history with Procrastination and The Suck. "The Suck" is defined by Jon Corippo as the lull between "project gets assigned and I'm sort of excited/adrenalized" and "oh crap, this is due in a few hours--what am I going to do?"
Not surprisingly, I am of two minds about procrastination. First, in my own professional life, I need help (i.e. deadlines) to jar me into motion. That's why I love the flash blogging challenge-- it spurs me into action, and I don't have much time to think or polish. I just have to write, and let whatever flies off the top of my brain be whatever I say. Sometimes this works out well, and sometimes it blows up in my face.
I also think, conversely, that there is a time and place to let ideas marinate, to step back and let the metaphorical sawdust settle after the chainsaw finishes its buzzing. I learned this from my grandfather, who was a craftsman of wooden stools that he made by whittling pegs by hand and wedging them perfectly into the legs with no glue to hold them. My uncle told me a story recently of my grandfather often half-putting a stool together and then saying, "Need to let it sit and look at it for awhile." My uncle said "awhile" was often days, maybe weeks, of rumination. This is the same man who was a gardener, another pursuit that required a lot of patience and a lot of time in subtle action and thought, not intense, heavy work.
So, in my classroom, I try for the best of both worlds. I try to tease a project a couple weeks in advance without giving super-specific specifications, to give students a chance to kind of turn the ideas over in their mind. Then, when it comes to Work Time, I try to compress the timeline as much as is possible, giving students the pressure of an imminent deadline after they've had a while to think.
This is also what Cheryl and I do when we plan presentations -- we kick around ideas a few weeks or months ahead of time, coming back to them periodically over that time. But it's not until a couple days before the presentation (or even the morning of) where the ideas tend to coalesce into something magical. Or that's the hope. It works for us.
I am, however, interested in other people's experiences with Procrastination and The Suck. How has it manifested in your own lives, and in your classrooms? What have you done about it?