The pros and cons of getting things done

There are many ways our 22-year-old daughter Emma and I are alike.

There are also many ways Emma and I are not alike.

One of the areas we are not alike is the area of getting things done. I don’t mean important things, like buying beer and making sure the TV is on at least five minutes before whichever baseball, basketball, or football game I want to watch starts.

No, the area of getting things done which Emma and I are most definitely not alike is the area of school-related work.

Monday, Emma spent most of the day in her room working on a paper as part of the final for one of her classes. Today, Emma spent most of the day in her room editing the paper she wrote on Monday.

And here’s the deal: The paper isn’t due until Thursday.

I know!

Honestly, if I hadn’t been in the room when she was born, I would swear Emma was someone else’s daughter.

When I was in college, if I had a paper due on Thursday, do you know when I would have started it?


And if the paper wasn’t due until late in the afternoon on Thursday, I wouldn’t start on it until at least noon.

The same goes for studying for tests. I once crammed an entire semester of World History into one intense four-hour study session. And I got a “B” on the test.

“But Mike,” some of you are thinking. “Maybe if you had started studying earlier you might have gotten an ‘A’ on the test.”

To some of you thinking that I have to say “An ‘A’? Whoa, what are you some sort of overachiever?”

When I was in school, I figured there were only some many “A’s” to go around, so I tried not to hog them. Better to get a “B” and let someone who really needs an “A” get one is what I always figured.

But Emma doesn’t figure that way. Emma figures the best thing to do, when it comes to schoolwork, is to work as hard as possible and get it done as soon as you can so you can move on to more schoolwork.

Again, how is this person related to me?

As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing that can’t be put off until the next day.

Or the next day.

That may explain why I went into journalism. See, in journalism, you really can’t put stuff off. In journalism, stuff is due when it’s due and if you don’t get it done when it’s due you don’t get paid.

Getting paid, or not getting paid, is a great motivator.

But you don’t get paid to go to college. In fact, you have to pay to go to college. So, since I wasn’t getting paid to do a college paper, I didn’t feel any great rush to get it done. In fact, since I was paying for college, I figured it was fair to say “Hey, you’ll get my paper when I feel like giving it do you.”

“So, Mike,” some of you are thinking. “That World History class aside, overall, what sort of grades did you get in college?”

To some of you thinking that, I say “We’re not here to talk about my grades. We’re here to talk about Emma’s.”

And I’m proud to say, overall, Emma’s college grades have been pretty good. I mean, she doesn’t always get straight “A’s” but she does pretty well. Besides, I never really trusted people who always got straight “A’s” in college.

A person who got straight “A’s” in college obviously never had to take a French test while fighting a massive hangover.

To use a purely hypothetical example.

One of the last things Emma has to do during her finals’ week is to present a project for one of her professors-via- a Zoom meeting at 5 p.m. Friday.

Emma has been working on the project, off and on, for several weeks. Once she gets her paper edited this afternoon, Emma said, she’ll start the final work on her project that is not due until Friday.

That’s right. She’s been working on a project for several weeks and she’ll spend the next three days doing some final work on it and it’s not due until 5 p.m. Friday.

I don’t know. Maybe there was some sort of mix up in the nursery.