Monday, 29 June 2009

I would be apathetic but I can't be arsed

It's easy to be not bothered.
I have tried to write on this topic twice and both times I have stopped because I couldn't be arsed. There was something else to do. A new email popped into my basket. Someone texted me. Eastenders came on. I tried to contract that piggy cold by licking bacon. Whatever.
Procrastination is one of a journalists worst habits. I recognise it as being mine.
In order to combat the art of time wasting you need to force two traits into your working day.
Enthusiasm and motivation are the greatest weapons in your arsenal. When I worked for a national paper the motto was 'walk the extra mile and make the extra call'. And it works.
(Their other motto was 'work the fuckers to death and see which ones survive' but that is for another day.)
Motivating yourself is massively important. I had to motivate myself every day when I was freelance and some days it was fucking hard. (Usually the days after a post commission session.)
But motivation doesn't just have to be about slogging your guts out.
It might be getting in and cracking on with your days work at your allotted start time not gazing at Facebook. (Didn't you already look at that before you went to bed, loser?).
Or actually spending the first couple of hours at work actually writing that lead or making those cals you you promised youself yesterday that you would do. Knock out the nibs early doors and you don't have to do them later. Same with pic caps, nibs, fillers, shorts, down pages or whatever you name the shit we have to write before we get to do real journalism.
Ring the boring councillor, he may have a tale this time.
Try getting to work half an hour before you should start. It will make a massive difference to your day.
Procrastination causes stress. You create an inflated sense of work load when you put stuff off in the morning. You stil have to do it all in the afternoon plus your news list is only likely to get longer - especially in this new internet weeklies-becoming-dailies age. Remember your boss wants the tales in your notebook and, once he/she knows about them, he/she will come after them with a vengeance.
Don't forget he/she has a job to do as well and time and deadlines wait for no man.
Give him what he wants and you will have plenty of time in the afternoon to Twitter your Facebook buddies while Beboing the fuck out of nonces.
Likewise having enthusiasm doesn't mean walking into the office with a fake grin stapled to your chops or going up to the boss every ten minutes asking for something to do. It can be as simple as not sighing when you get your fifth dull picture caption of the day to write around. It might be offering to help out when a big story is breaking without being asked. It certainly is avoiding curling your lip or muttering under your breath when you get asked to cover a council meeting at the last minute because the duty reporter is not ill. Get the fuck over yourself.
All a boss wants to do is give jobs to reporters and move on. He doesn't want a debate about its merits, he doesn't want to hear about why you don't want to do it and he definitely doesn't want to hear you bitch on about how you get all the crap jobs.
Pick up the baton and get on with it. Do a good job and he will give you more to do. Eventually that more will become the decent tales and not just fillers and down pages.
If you sit in the corner of the room muttering about shit jobs, I guarantee your boss will pile more shit upon you just to see the whining look on your face. I do. It makes me laugh.
Enthusiasm is infectious. If you are upbeat and game for it. You will find your colleagues attitude starts to change. Its morale boosting effects are evident. Who wants to hang around a news room full of moaning bitches crapping on about low pay, long hours and charity picture captions?
Save that for the pub.

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