Making Procrastination Work

In the amount of time I’ve put off writing an article on procrastination, the joke stopped being funny.

Checking Instagram, doing yoga, researching how to write press releases, making lunch, looking at celebrity Instagram’s, making coffee, sweating because I’ve had too much coffee, trying to figure out how to turn down the thermostat in my office, picking the perfect playlist on Spotify, worrying about what my taste in music on Spotify says about me, calling the gas company to set up e-billing…

Should I keep going?

I came up with the idea for this article in April. It’s now September. Doesn’t get more ironic than that, does it, Alanis?

My old friend procrastination: we are well acquainted. We were first introduced in middle school. We avoided studying for spelling tests together. It felt a little bad, a little rebellious, but everyone was doing it.

I said I would be better in high school. No more waiting until the last minute. Then, I got a Facebook freshman year, and everything was downhill from there. I said I would definitely change my ways in college. After all, college is serious business; no good student procrastinates in college. (Oh, how naïve I was.) But, as it turns out, habits are hard to break.

In college, I used to feel like I could do my best writing late at night just before a deadline, either surrounded by my friends or completely alone. And I thought I must retain the stuff I was studying better because it was so quiet. Turns out, it wasn’t the hour or the company. I thought it was the adrenaline. It wasn’t that either. Now I realize it was the necessity.

“Most writers manage to get by because, as the deadline creeps closer, their fears of turning in nothing eventually surpasses their fears of turning in something terrible,” Megan McArdle (who feels very much like a kindred spirit) wrote in an article for The Atlantic in 2014. This speaks to my soul, but it can’t just be writers, right? Do computer programmers procrastinate? Do CPA’s wait until just before the tax deadline?

And if I’m being honest, I don’t know if this is a habit I want to break. I love the adrenaline and the freedom that comes from knowing it doesn’t matter if the work isn’t perfect because at least it’s turned in. It seems totally futile to fight against the urge to procrastinate, so here is my confession: I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty about procrastinating because it’s truly a mess of my own making. I may even relish it now.

At the end of the day (or night), if your assignment gets done, the project is turned in and the proposal sent off, procrastination has not won. The human spirit remains unbroken, and we can live to waste time another day.

So, should we fight it? Or just let it happen as the natural course of the way we (I) work?

I have to go avoid something else on my to-do list. Maybe I’ll get back to you on this later.

 

Nora Philbin

Nora is a co-founder of Happy Spectacular, which she still can't really believe, and she's on a lifelong quest for the world's best cheeseburger (applicants accepted).

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