Thursday, January 31, 2008


I have two recent observations to note about working under deadlines:

1. When I make an effort to work ahead to get everything made in stages I make mistakes. Bad mistakes. How does that happen? I plan ahead and it all goes wrong. Like me trying to make Dana's recommended frosting. Probably would have been fine, if I hadn't used frozen butter. Oops. Don't know why I didn't think to thaw it and use it at room temperature. So, of course, the frosting didn't set up right. But, unwilling to give up, I decided to heat the frosting in hopes that the butter would melt. It did. And with a little more whipping and about 3 cups of powdered sugar (not part of the recipe, of course) I had the PERFECT frosting. It was like whipped cream, light fluffy, and the perfect shade of vanilla. Yes, I fell in love and may never go back to plain old buttercream. So I put it in the fridge and looked forward to using it on the cakes (that I still had yet to bake). Unfortunately, once refrigerated the texture changed and all of my "melted" butter thickened and made the frosting utterly unspreadable, but perfect for eating with a spoon. =D *sigh* so I'll be making more frosting. As if that weren't bad enough, I made the cakes the next day. I planned on making two rounds and layering them. I mixed everything up, following the directions (all 3 ingredients!) on the box mix. I spread the mix in the pan, thinking the batter was a little stiffer than I remembered. Still, it seemed okay. About halfway through the baking process, I realized that I forgot to put the water in the mix! DUH.... Good thing I had Leif pick up two mixes. I chucked the waterless cake and made the rest of that mix (with water) and another to make 3 cake rounds to layer. I think that will turn out just fine. But why is it that when I carefully plan to get things done each afternoon so everything will come together perfectly that it seems to blow up in my face? Isn't planning supposed to make things easier?

2. When I have specific projects I need to accomplish, I get brilliant ideas for all sorts of other projects to do. And I do them. Here I have a baby shower on Saturday and several projects to finish before then. And while I have done some of those, I have also done a bunch of other projects, start to finish. I have made 3 necklaces, a bracelet, and earrings. I made a flannel board complete with vehicle cut outs to use with it. I made 3 more mailbox and valentine sets. (In my defense, these were sold in my Etsy store, so I really did need to get them finished so I can mail them out tomorrow.) I single-handedly moved Ellie's toddler bed from the basement to her room upstairs. It's really quite ridiculous how much I have gotten done in the time that I was supposed to be doing other things. It's true that the things I needed to get done also got done, but I have accomplished so much more, too.

These two observations - the fact that I make mistakes when I plan ahead and that I get so much more accomplished when I am working under a deadline - lead me to one conclusion. It's something my dad taught me and something I have lived by for many years (much to my mother's dismay). It may not always be true, but today I conclude that...

Procrastination is the essence of efficiency.

Still, I am going to follow my little schedule and do what I can tomorrow so that Saturday runs smoothly. I may be more efficient when I procrastinate, but I don't enjoy the stress that comes with it. I also know that sometimes the little things get left out when I procrastinate, and I want this to be a perfect Martha style shower on Saturday. That requires the little things to be intact. I'm not making my own marshmallows for the hot chocolate. That is my compromise. I plan to have everything else *just right*.


Dana said...

oh gosh... the last cake i made i stuck the sm-buttercream in the fridge totally not thinking it didn't need to be refridgerated, and nearly had a heart attack because of the consistency it had become.... i just let it sit to rrom temp and whipped until it was semi close to the original... it was nerve wrecking.

Debbie Olson said...

Wow. . . I can SO relate to what you are saying! I try to plan ahead, and I may spin my wheels and invest hours in a project, but until it's "crunch time," the really *good* ideas don't flow. I almost always have to start over when I plan ahead and work ahead. And I am bad about procrastinating too (like typing a comment when I desperately need to finish this piece and go to bed!) All of that to say, you're not alone! Glad that the frosting tasted good anyway. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Auugghh!! Your father and I agreed that "Procrastination is the essence of efficiency" was a forever banned motto never to be uttered again by human lips. Of course this is coming from someone whose life mottoes are "never wait until the last minute; the last minute might not be available" and "a place for everything and everything in its place". Your craft challenged Mom :-)

Julie B said...

Wow girl, we are a lot more alike than I thought!! Don't worry though, I know everything will turn out just fine (perfect actually), just don't forget to have FUN!!

lauren said...

OOF! i so hear you about deadlines: as soon as i am down to the wire with no time to spare i immediately feel COMPELLED to go and make something completely extra and un-necessary!

i am weirdly cheered to hear that you do this too...and does miss heidi swapp.

so i guess all us great design DIVAS work to the beat of our own fabulous drummer, eh?