I don’t un­der­stand my­self

Writing a pa­per and clean­ing one’s room are two very dif­fer­ent sorts of task: you would there­fore think that a per­son would ap­proach then very dif­fer­ently. Everyone has a dif­fer­ent way of clean­ing their room and a dif­fer­ent way of writ­ing a pa­per; at the very least, though, you can safely as­sume that clean­ing one’s room is the eas­ier and less daunt­ing of the two tasks. Cleaning one’s room there­fore ought to be an­tic­i­pated by less, if any, of the anx­i­ety, pro­cras­ti­na­tion, etc., that of­ten leads up to writ­ing a pa­per.—Well, as it turns out, if we re­place the ab­stract “one” with the con­crete Alan”, then the above con­jec­ture no longer holds. It seems that, for him, the in­tent to clean his room pro­vokes at least as much anx­i­ety and use of var­i­ous avoid­ance strate­gies (among which out­right pro­cras­ti­na­tion is ac­tu­ally only a last re­sort!), as does writ­ing any of even the longest and thorni­est pa­pers of his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree. Again the mys­tery of Why Does Alan Do Things rears its head.

(Between our­selves, I think the prob­lem in both cases is that I did­n’t know where to start or how to feel like I’m making progress. And did­n’t re­ally want to do the think­ing—plan­ning, imag­in­ing—that would have an­swered these ques­tions. Which think­ing turned out to be not hard and to triv­ially solve my prob­lem! I feel kind of silly about that, but what can you do.)

Tagged as why does alan do things