The Scotty Principle

I am a graphic design god. Alright, maybe I don’t have any real godlike powers, but I just pulled off the impossible.

The other day, I told you how Eeyore, the horrible little voice in my head, has been sabotaging me. What that means in practical terms is that I got very bloody lazy about doing my job. Eeyore said, don’t work. What’s the point? Maybe you’d be better off if you got fired. Let’s just surf the internet and draw a dragon. To which, I said, alright, for, like, three weeks.

I have a month to get my work done, which is exceedingly generous. However, I am a master of the Scotty Principle. If you’re not familiar with the concept, Urban Dictionary has the following to say:

Derived from the original Star Trek series wherein Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott consistently made the seemingly impossible happen just in time to save the crew of the Enterprise from disaster.

1) Calculate average required time for completion of given task.

2) Depending on importance of task, add 25-50% additional time to original estimate.

3) Report and commit to inflated time estimate with superiors, clients, etc.

4) Under optimal conditions the task is completed closer to the original time estimate vs. the inflated delivery time expected by those waiting.

That’s how I roll. I estimate that it will take a month to produce what in actuality takes me only about two to three weeks, which is how I can spend so much time with y’all. This has worked just fine for years. Until Eeyore gets involved, that is.

Once Eeyore piped in with his hopelessness and why do you need a job anyway? I found it harder and harder to resist, to the point where I had slacked on my job for so long, I had no idea where to begin. The concept of starting was so overwhelming that I just didn’t. I slept poorly and woke up with anxiety, still, I did nothing about it. Yay depression. Until last Thursday morning at 9:41 am when I got this email from my boss.

Β When will this be ready for proofing?Β  We are behind schedule on this one.

Uhhh… While my stomach sank into my feet, I responded with the Scotty Principle. We had a back and forth conversation as to why it would take longer than normal. I did not say, Well, I have a stuffed donkey in my head who’s telling me FUCK EVERYTHING. Instead, I gave some very convincing reasons for the delay and agreed to a completion date of this Friday.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you might realize that from last Thursday to this Friday is significantly less than the two to three weeks it usually takes me. In fact, that’s just over a week. I had to produce 16 pages in seven work days, when it normally takes me two to three times that. Here’s what I had done so far: fuck all and not enough. PANIC!

I don’t have time to panic. Alright, let’s do this.

From 9:41 am to 5 pm on Thursday, I created an entire layout–a process which can take a whole week alone.

Friday, I finished 6 pages. SIX. I know that means nothing to you. Put it this way, at a normal leisurely pace, I finish one to three pages a day. Friday, I took six pages from a state of not even existing to done.

Monday, I finished another 6 pages. I only had four pages to go, but those are the most complicated and time consuming pages. The cover is one of them. It’s always the last thing I do and the most design intensive. It takes a day, sometimes two, just to do the cover.

Tuesday, I finished three complicated pages. Wednesday morning, I handed everything but the cover off to proofing. I typically don’t hand that over until later; it’s the easiest to proof, because it doesn’t have item numbers and prices on it.

I spent several hours creating my weekly online stuff. I normally do that on Monday, but I had to push it to Wednesday to get all the work done. Then, I started the cover. This morning, I handed the finished cover off to proofing.

I finished a project that I normally have a month to do in just five work days from beginning to end. I was all proud of myself for getting it done with two days to spare, when really, I should be ashamed that I put it off as long as I did. I’m never doing this to myself again. Fuck you, Eeyore.


Does your depression or other mental illness cause you to self-sabotage? How do you deal with it? Did I miss anything in my absence?