The fine art of procrastination

Managing to complete work on time since 1997

“I’ll be finished at ten,” I say it time and again… but I’m late; I wait around and then (bah-dah-dah) I cry on the floor, I can’t take any more. It’s not you, I let me down again.

Last Friday, I went to sleep telling myself that I would have a productive weekend unlike any other I’ve had thus far at college. Come Saturday, however… well, Saturday didn’t start for me until about 2 pm. Several of my friends from high school had been mentioning a show they said I had to watch. One of them even said she was as obsessed with it as she had been with Avatar: The Last Airbender, back in the heyday of her fandom. (We were fan buddies, and oh my gosh as good as Avatar??). The logical course of action, then, would be for me to watch. And so I did; I set aside homework, studying for my Data Structures test (may the Flying Spaghetti Monster splatter a garlicky red 100 mark on my test), and writing articles for The Poly. And, hey—you’re reading this notebook, so that means that I got it done right? It’s not like I spent my entire weekend marathoning the first season of Steven Universe, and I’m certainly not lame for it, okay? Agreed.

But I’m not here to discourage procrastination, or advocate one of the myriad methods that are being taught across campus about “how to be effective” or “how to rock at college.” It’s essentially an established fact of life that everyone procrastinates at one point or another. In fact, it can be healthy to procrastinate in moderation; taking a break from the intensive workload that RPI dumps on you, and taking the time to “treat yo’ self,” is necessary to reduce stress. Maybe not for first-semester freshmen, but for all others. And definitely not by watching an entire season of a TV show in one weekend. I’m no psychology major, but there has to be a reason all humans do it. Some say that it’s because humans will do any task other than the one at hand, or that they will do any task that’s less daunting than the worst. But neither option is quite so terrible—in fact, they can be taken advantage of. Some people do structure their procrastination so that it becomes beneficial. The real issue arises when we start labeling it as a negative thing; sometimes the adrenaline rush from procrastinating is just the perfect kick. And you can always delay larger tasks by doing something that is still productive, like reading Authentic Happiness.

In the end, this is RPI; most students turn out fine, procrastinator or not. And if there’s one piece of knowledge that Professor Hubbell imparted upon me before I dropped psychology (he was great, but I want to dual major. It’s not his fault!), it’s that we are here at college to learn time management. By that rationale, it’s only a matter of time until we all emerge into a brave new world as effective workers who don’t dilly-dally and dawdle. But for now, procrastinators, get to it later!