As 2014 rapidly approaches, so does the endless lists of New Year resolutions. One resolution that has been at the top of my list for as long as I remember is to stop procrastinating. I have given myself the title of Master Procraster. Although procrastination has never prevented me from meeting a deadline, I have always felt that I needed to stop doing it. I am notoriously punctual. I’m never late so I often wondered it procrastination was a real problem for me. I have always been able to work well under pressure, but this year I made it a point of getting assignments and projects done early. I finished several papers well before their due dates, submitted proposals and outlines shortly after they were assigned, and I felt no great sense of relief. I was actually a little bored having all of my work done with nothing pressing down upon me. I reviewed my work and I didn’t see any great difference in the content or quality. So why do I need to quit procrastinating, or why is procrastination such a bad thing. It’s not for me.
One of my professors mentioned to the class that he would be absent at the end of the week because he was presenting at a conference. We asked him about his presentation and he gave us a brief and interesting description. Then he told us that he had not written it yet. As the week progressed, each day we asked about his presentation we were told that he had yet to write it. Finally, the day before his conference, he said that he still hadn’t written the paper he was presenting and that he would outline it on the plane and write it the night before the presentation. He went on to tell us that he had the entire paper planned out in his mind and it would be nothing for him to sit down for a couple of hours and type it out. This is when something clicked in my head. It is okay to procrastinate if you are good at it.
Just like my professor, I plan things out in my head before I execute them. I can get very busy and some things take precedent over others. I have household chores, my child’s activities, my activities, and all of the other things that are a part of life. I like to take care of all of those things first. I personally find it hard to focus if I have a laundry to do, dinner to plan, and even time to relax. There have been times when I took an extra 3 hours to catch up on a season of Mad Men when I had papers to write, presentations to plan, and other pressing deadlines. I could have used that time to focus on those things, but I didn’t and it was okay. I was still able to get meet all of those deadlines because I had all of them planned out in my mind. I wasn’t physically typing away on my keyboard, but I had been working. I spend a lot of time thinking. As I am cleaning my house, waiting in the car line to pick up my son from school, or any other activity that does not use a lot of brainpower, I’m thinking and planning. So when I am ready to sit down and write that paper, or prepare for that presentation, I have something to work with. It’s like riding a train. Although you may be sitting still, you are still making progress toward your destination.
So if you are a Master Procraster, don’t be so hard on yourself. If you are able to meet deadlines and produce quality work is there a reason for you to change? I don’t think so. There may be things that you can’t put off until the last minute, but if you can, and it is not going to harm you in any way, by all means, do it.
- Stop the resolute (leonbenson.wordpress.com)