My Big, Fat, American Fling with Procrastination
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My Big, Fat, American Fling with Procrastination

...and how we ended up tying the knot.

My Big, Fat, American Fling with Procrastination
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

This is a response to The Truth About Procrastination.

Procrastination is one of those words that everyone has some type of gut reaction to upon hearing it spoken aloud. It could be one of indifference– if so, you’ve caught onto something the majority of us haven’t and I’m glad to see your notion of self-worth is not contingent on productivity. It could be a way of life– one that I adopted in undergrad for awhile. Or it could bring on a bout of anxiety– how could you possibly have waited until the night before the test to study! Again! My point is, we all feel something towards the dreaded phenomenon of procrastination.

But what if we shifted how we thought about productivity, and in effect, procrastination?

My whole life, I’ve been averse to procrastinating. I loved the idea of a planner as a child because I loved planning out deadlines and finishing my assignments in a timely manner. It’s just how I was. It was easy for this to be my outlook towards life because, well, school was my life. I dreamed of attending college from the moment I learned of its existence. So naturally this societal notion to stay ahead of deadlines just happened to mesh well with my worldview.

That is, until college.

When I arrived at my university, I discovered a freedom to try more than just school. That’s not to say I didn’t love my classes. I absolutely did. Learning is something that I adore and I’ve discovered must be part of my life in some way in order to keep my brain entertained and sane.

But I was also introduced to living on a college campus. Walking and biking and the metro as means of transportation. Staying out late with my friends from the campus television station and then throwing on sweats a few hours later to arrive at my 8am.

But most importantly of all, I met people who did well enough in school, enjoyed life, and were major procrastinators.

Well, let’s put it this way. They did not evaluate their self-worth based on if they procrastinated or not and they didn’t view procrastination as the antithesis of productivity. In fact, I don’t think they even viewed themselves as procrastinating. They just operated on a different timeline than the deadline-motivated one I was used to.

Most of our study groups consisted of spending days organizing a collaborative google doc study guide whilst distracting each other with silly shenanigans and finally spending the last day before the test actually studying. In fact, I’d more call what we practiced ‘cramming’ but it did the trick, we got A’s, and we had a blast.

I’m not saying these antics work for everyone in every concentration of study, but it worked for me and it taught me that there’s more to life than being “perfect” and regimented. My attitude towards procrastination was shifting from one of aversion to one of acceptance.

As long as I finish my work, do it well, and keep my commitments, isn’t that all that matters? And isn’t it even better if I’m able to carve out time for myself and do things that make me joyful too?

I “procrastinate” more now than I ever have in my entire life. I’m also more balanced and happy now than I think I have been in my adult life. The truth about procrastination is, you don’t have to be either productive or a procrastinator.

You can be both.

You can finish your work by the deadline, and go see that new movie with your friends. You can finish all your housework, and grab coffee with an old friend. It just takes being intentional with your time and realizing that how “productive” you are with your self-care and personal life is just as important as how “productive” you are with your work and career.

Instead of procrastinating, think of yourself as prioritizing your productivity for different areas of your life.

So come on over to the “dark side,” it’s fun! As someone who identifies as relatively productive in various sectors of life, I can vouch for it personally. So try it out, if you want.

Like our friend Smokey Bear says, “only YOU can lead the life you want for yourself.” Or something along those lines.

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