I Don’t Always Procrastinate, but When I Do…

By Milena Beltramo

Procrastination is bad. You know this, I know this. Oh boy, do I know this. I’ll have you know, dear reader, that at the very moment these words are being frantically typed onto my laptop screen, the clock reads 12:14, yes, as in the morning. Specifically the morning of my absolute-super-duper-final-final-deadline day.

Why on Earth, then, am I presenting you with this article on procrastination, you may ask. Shouldn’t my habitual procrastination disqualify me from being the author of this story? Firstly, slow down, I’m getting there, and secondly, because I’m a big girl, and I can write what I want.

In fact, despite the alarming amount of hypocrisy with which this advice will be delivered, a procrastinator is actually a far less biased source of information on procrastinating (or just too sleep deprived to remember what their own opinions are). As a self-aware procrastinator, I can provide valuable insight that your parents and teachers can’t (or won’t). Let us begin.

We’ll start off our little educational journey with a foray into grounds you are comfortable with. Procrastination is unhealthy, procrastination produces lower quality work, procrastination is just all around bad. And these things you have been told are frequently very true. In an ideal world, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all just finish our work first and play later? But surprise, surprise, kiddies, the world isn’t perfect, and neither are it’s inhabitants. Especially not those who procrastinate.

But perhaps forgiving the tendency of human nature to be weak, and forgetting that procrastination creates a massive amount of very unhealthy stress, putting off that paper may produce some intriguing results. Given that not everyone reacts well to pressure, the following words should be taken with more than a few grains of salt.

Procrastination is the result of effectively trapping your success between a rock and a hard place. With time pressing in on you from one side, and your own lack of motivation on the other, they pressure of the situation can very quickly get out of control. Somewhat ironically, that pressure is so heavy that it paralyzes the procrastinator, and further inhibits them from self-motivation.

That very same pressure for others however, creates a trap, or more accurately a challenge. You see, dear reader, when you get boxed in like that, you start to look really hard for a way out. The obvious thing to do (to those who do not engage in the art of procrastination), would be to get off your (or rather my) lazy bum and get some work done. But the inability of the procrastinator to do that is what got us here in the first place, so that option is definitely off the table.

Another option is to simply give up, not do the assignment. Again though, that conflicts with the nature of procrastinating, which is to delay tasks to the point of sabotaging them, but ultimately completing them. Giving up is not in the procrastinator’s nature, for we haven’t even begun yet. Instead, the only way out is to do the assignment, but shoot shoot shoot, there are only fifteen minutes until class starts.

With so little time to plan or prepare, procrastinators must embrace the art of throwing themselves to the winds, and never looking back. Erasing is a luxury and proof-reading is an impossibility. Since we don’t have time on our side, the only quality that we can really put into our work is creativity, and golly do procrastinators get creative.

We write last minute essays on the social traumas of being the eldest child of Shakespeare, papers on the viability of grape jelly as a glue-substitute, or even articles on procrastination. Just imagine.

The creativity that the human mind can produce when in a bit of a bind is unbounded. I am not ashamed to testify that almost across my entire school career, the work that I have been praised for the most has been the work that received the brunt of my procrastinating prowess. This almost makes up for the maddening stress endured all the time up to completion of the assignment. Almost.

But despite the brighter side of procrastination, it still holds true that the behavior stems from a dark place, one where something else is at root, and translates into self-sabotage. No matter the benefits or costs of putting things off, procrastination can only be checked by addressing those underlying issues, the ones that are really keeping you from acting in your own best interests.

Speaking of checking and best interests, I just checked the clock again, and it is now 12:38. As I am a human being, I require at least some sleep before I wake up again in four hours to begin (officially, at least) the new day. So with that, I bid you adieu, good night, and good luck, you really should have done that that assignment instead of reading about my problems in this article, no matter how wonderful the website is.

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