“I have a million things to do today. My exams are coming up and I’m still not prepared. I also have a few notes to complete. There is an assignment to be submitted by next week, there’s a lot of time for that! You know what? I haven’t even touched my sketchpad in a long time. I promised Mum that I’d clean my room, too! Gah, I think I’ll just lie down and read a book, or watch some TV series! I’ll do these things tomorrow!”
Funnily enough, that is how the majority of us function. Don’t lie to me, because we are all guilty of procrastination. Work seems like a huge mountain to be moved until we start doing it. The only things that motivate us to finish the work are deadlines. You know what else should be motivating? The satisfaction of finishing the task! There might be times when you have zero motivation to get up and work. You might want to plonk yourself down on your pillow and stare aimlessly at the ceiling instead of doing anything.
“Never put off until tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
But procrastination isn’t always a bad thing, if you think about it. Calculated procrastination can actually be healthy. I procrastinate sketching or writing articles sometimes, because I hit a block. I run out of ideas and lose any link I have to the piece I’m working on. What do I do? I pick up a book and curl up in a corner of my room to read in peace. I even fall asleep while reading! If I still can’t come up with something, I do it the next day. In such cases, procrastination can be a good way to clear a block. Sometimes, a break is all you need to get your head back in the game.
We cannot all be at our creative best throughout the day. There are times when we go as blank as a white paper. Creativity isn’t something that we can just tap into whenever we feel like, it isn’t anything like a faucet. It is okay if you procrastinate when you’re not at your creative best. Do something that you enjoy doing in the meantime. After all, the time you spend enjoying doesn’t count as wasted time! Escaping work for a short while to refresh your creative side is perfectly alright, as long as you remember to get back to work once you’re done.
“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
-Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind
We cannot evade responsibility, though. What has to be done, should be done eventually- no matter how far we try to run away from our responsibilities. There is always going to be a huge pile of work tomorrow. The more we procrastinate, the bigger this pile gets. The bigger it gets, the scarier it looks. The only way to prevent this scary cycle is by doing your work today! And let’s be honest, everything seems a hundred times better once we have completed the task beforehand. There is no worry eating away at your brain and you can enjoy guilt-free.
Don’t force yourself into doing any work- forcing never helped anybody achieve the results they wanted. It ruins things. Give yourself small incentives, sure, but never force yourself. But always remember that procrastination is not the same as putting things off for tomorrow. Read a book, bake cookies, take a nap! But don’t attend a party while you still have things to do. There has to be a fine line between taking a short break from work and putting it in the ‘Tomorrow Pile.’
“A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately trying to avoid what you’re supposed to do.”
-Bill Watterson, There’s Treasure Everywhere: A Calvin And Hobbes Collection.
I procrastinate a lot, too. In fact, there have been a lot of instances where I have started assignments only a day prior to the date of submission. But that only put me under lots of pressure. It led to all-nighters and caffeine rushes, and yes- dark circles too! The point is, don’t procrastinate till the last minute to avoid trouble. It certainly does feel better when you finish your work on time.
So if you’re a big fan of procrastinating, I suggest you dial it down a little bit. If you do procrastinate (we all do, because we are just humans), make sure it was calculated. Know the difference between calculated procrastination and putting things away for the next day. Finish your work and then slip into your PJ’s and take all the free time you want.
“Wherever you are right now, you can start right now; this very moment.”
Your life is happening in the now, don’t let procrastination take over your life. Be brave. Do spontaneous things, take risks. Now will never come back again. There are only so many moments you can afford to miss in life. Don’t let procrastination get the better of you.
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