Ever wondered what someone else is thinking? We’re finding someone each month to tell us what they think about, and this month it’s The Procrastinator.
“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today” – Lord Chesterfield.
Just one of a large number of quotes I’ve come across in my ‘preparation’ prior to writing this article. In fact, I have a list of quotes longer than my word limit for this column, know more about Lord Chesterfield than I’d care to know (I’ll not bore you with the minutiae, suffice it to say, he was boring bastard), and am now fielding texts and Facebook messages from the editor, which will likely become increasingly angry over the next few minutes.
So it has now reached the point where, finally, it’s time to slog through the business of writing this.
I know I’m certainly not alone in my indulgence of procrastination, or as I call it ‘not sweating the small stuff’, and it’s certainly unfair to say that procrastination is without any good points. After all, it’s procrastination and procrastination alone that can reliably turn the habitual wreck of a room (or as I prefer it and have repeatedly tried to re-brand it ‘organised chaos’) into a Zen, minimalist work haven. With the possible exception of that phone call from your family announcing they’ll be round to visit in a couple of days as they’ll be in the area… but I digress. As usual.
As I was saying, I find procrastination, particularly its demented combination of both complete focus and a complete absence of it – ‘I need to do something now, and it mustn’t be THAT!’ – and the flood of nervous energy that can accompany it can lead to a number of discoveries. New hobbies, say, an interest in a certain diminutive stringed instrument, fiddling with a pack of cards working on technical optical illusions, and a personal favourite of mine- when writing longhand, manually counting through the words in said document and trying to see what sentences I can lengthen in pursuit of that damn word limit.
And there of course, is the big thing that people overlook about procrastination. There is no denying that it can be really enjoyable – reading a chapter or several of that book you’ve been reading on and off; finally drawing up that budget of sorts; having a long, random and far-reaching philosophical conversation with a housemate about toast; sending those encroaching dust bunnies into the cold abyss of the hoover; or even getting some seminar work done!
The problem lies in the ‘darker’ side of procrastination, which is also frankly the more boring side. The scrolling through memebase; re-organising your barely opened pile of textbooks for the fourth time; trying to think of a submission for memebase; and then of course, the most common and insidious agent of poor procrastination- the slow, dull, monotonous, boring, vacant staring at the Facebook feed, with each click to refreshing like a metronome ticking out minute after minute of wasted life and wasted time to that deadline…
You know, the procrastination that you get really annoyed at yourself for. It’s with this column that I’ve finally gotten round to deciding on one of my New Year’s resolutions. Unless you’re some kind of god of self-restraint then you will procrastinate at some point in your life.
So I’ve just decided to make the best of it. University, in addition to a time of education, drinking, nights you can’t remember and nights you wish you couldn’t, is a time of personal development, of our tastes and personalities. Over the three years (at least) we’ll be having, chances are there will be rather a lot of procrastination, maybe we should try to use it. Hey, at least that way when the inevitable all-nighter happens on the eve of the deadline we’ll have something to show for our panic.
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