Remember those little instances in life where you try so hard to avoid spending energy/time on something that you put just as much energy/time into avoiding it? Like the project that’s due in a day; instead of buckling down and just getting the damn thing over with, you spend hours trying to concoct an elaborate scheme to give you one more day to finish the project. Not only is this mathematically unsound (one day of thinking = one extra day past deadline) but it adds a level of stress to your life that was unnecessary to begin with (if said plan fails, then what? etc…).
Stupid, right? And yet here we are, a world riddled with procrastinators (up to 20% of people in a study in America claimed to be chronic procrastinators) and last minute-miracle workers that toil nights away and stress through the day doing everything OTHER THAN the one thing we should be doing. There are a huge collection of studies done about this plague of procrastination, and they all conclude on different causes, blaming lack of self-confidence, perfectionism, impulsive behavior, lack of intrinsic motivation, . One study showed that people who did procrastinate, though, worked at a pace of up to 11 times faster than that of normal people when they actually sat down and got their shit together.
I can personally attest to this phenomenon: in college I would put projects that usually took half a semester to finish and crammed it all into two days of working off nothing but my own panic and large cups of black tea. I would wait to study for a final until the absolute last minute, and then sit down and read through the ENTIRE textbook within 18 straight hours, taking notes and creating outlines at the same time. Not only did I get the job done on both accounts, I got it done well, receiving high scores that should not be allowed to exist. Of course this caused me to go through a hilarious bout of sleep deprivation, which I might post about… later.
Now imagine that we procrastinators worked at that pace consistently. Think about it, 11 times more than average. We would get so much shit done in our lives. But no, the drive to do things doesn’t kick in until we absolutely have to, or we run out of things to do on our to-do list (apparently a lot of procrastinators have meticulous to-do lists…)
At least we know how to have fun, right?
Um, no. We even procrastinate having fun. Really now? Really? It’s like people in Colorado who have never gone skiing in their lives (that is one thing I have never procrastinated in.. oh wait. I still haven’t bought a 4-pass. >.<) or never take advantage of our awesome mountains for summer hiking. So now not only can we not get our jobs done in a timely manner, but we even put off our vacations? What sort of twisted world is this?
Notice I write about this topic because I procrastinated writing a post for almost a week. I actually like writing. What does this say about the status of my grad school and job applications? =.=