Hello. My name is Erica, and I am a (recovering) procrastinator. We’re all guilty of this treacherous habit on some level or another, or at least that’s what I like to think when I’m kicking myself for putting another project off until the last minute. While many a college student has tried to convince the world and their skeptical professors that they are not putting off work but that they simply “work best under pressure,” I’ll be the first to say that I am a classic procrastinator, and just because I work faster under pressure does not mean that the work that comes out of an all-nighter is necessarily my best work.
I’ve always been really good at setting goals and making schedules to follow in order to get stuff done, but I’ve found that as my work load gets heavier I start to put things off more and more. Logically this sounds absurd, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that does this, or am I just imagining things?
You know what I’m talking about, right? The first few weeks of a semester are always the easiest: you don’t have a whole lot of work, so you get all of the reading done, take extra detailed notes, then pat yourself on the back for a job-well-done when you finish your to-do list before 10 p.m. A few more weeks go by and you find yourself finishing those papers a few days early, but your reading assignments are starting to pile up and your time spent on Reddit is coincidentally on the rise.
By time exams come around you feel like you might not live to see your next birthday, so what do you do? “Take a break” from all the studying by watching that funny YouTube video your friend sent you then end up taking a four hour nap to “recharge your batteries” before you tackle that thesis paper that’s due in less than 24 hours. It isn’t until you’re wrestling with your printer at 7:55 in the morning that the golden thought finally rolls through your sleep deprived brain: I never should have procrastinated like that. Bingo! Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner! Why can’t we realize that putting off important tasks is going to make matters worse before we’ve pushed ourselves too far?
While I’d like to consider myself a recovering procrastinator, it would be a lie to say that I don’t slip up every now and then. Luckily I’m on Summer break for school, so I still have another few months to build up the strength needed for next semester, but there are still things that I’ve been putting off more than I should be allowed to.
The inspiration for this post, for instance, came to me when I woke up this morning and realized I hadn’t written anything last night to be posted today and I wouldn’t have time to write anything before work (hence the super late post). I’ve also been putting off fundraising efforts for Oxford, and that’s something that I know I shouldn’t be messing around with.
It’s not that I’m not willing to do the work, and I’m not spending my extra time lying around the house; I’ve just put those things that need my attention on the back burner and have been spending my time on other productive, but not the most important, tasks. I have no idea why I procrastinate, other than maybe fear. Fear of messing up. In the case of fundraising, fear of asking other people for money. Once again, logically this makes no sense, but there’s something very human about this response, so I guess the only way around it is to recognize that it exists and face it head on.
Comment Question: Are you a classic procrastinator, or is getting through a heavy workload just something that you power through without the temptation of veering off course? Also, if you have any tips for avoiding procrastination, please let me know! (I could really use the help!)