Your post – the first-ever post on our blog, yay – really made me laugh. I mean, starting two hours before the deadline? You remind me of myself. No matter how many times I tell myself that I will really start earlier with an essay next time, eventually I find myself frantically typing in a race against the deadline. It is ridiculous how easy it is to say to yourself that you will start ‘later’. It would be a lot better if some of the stress I experience when the deadline is almost upon me could be transferred to those moments. Maybe then it wouldn’t be so easy to procrastinate.
And it is not as if I’m working on important things when I decide to procrastinate. Most of the time I’m busy watching series, searching the internet for random facts about my latest obsession, or reading books I’ve already read numerous times. I swear, if I would have spend all the time I spend on useless things on real work, I would probably have written 2 novels by now, created numerous (naturally highly successful) youtube channels, and written the most amazing essays (with of course a lot of background reading). Yes, I would probably also be an expert in various interesting topics such as medieval warfare, Chinese history and Japanese poetry (these are all subjects I am interested in, but I have never done anything more than Google-search them). But maybe everyone would be brilliant if they would only focus on one particular task at the time.
I for one seem to be incapable of thinking of one thing for a longer period of time (say 10 minutes). It’s not that I don’t try to focus, it’s just that every thought I have looks like a Wikipediapage. There are links to other pages/thoughts everywhere and before I know it, I’m in a completely different part of my mind without knowing how I got there. The fact that the real Wikipedia is only one mouseclick away doesn’t help by the way.
So there I am, it’s a day before the deadline, and suddenly I find myself in front of a white screen. The lie I had told myself all that time – that I had prepared really well, that it was actually as good as done, because I had thought about it for so long, that I only had to write it down – finally reveals its imaginary nature. You know what happens then?
That is the point the stress comes flooding in, as if a dyke has broke. Suddenly all the optimism with which I told myself ‘later’ is replaced by a panicky feeling of despair. It will never work, I can’t write it, I won’t make the deadline, this will be the essay that will not be written. And every time the essay is finished, and I made it before the deadline.
Of course I rely on this. The fact that, up until now, I have succeeded every time, is a good excuse to procrastinate. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to fail, but it might be a good thing if it did happen to me some time. Though you could say that this, failing, has already happened in a way. There have been two times this year that I did make the deadline, but was extremely unhappy about what I had written. The grades I got for them weren’t that great either, though they were still sufficient. I already hated my habit of procrastinating, but they made me realize more than anything that I don’t want to be like that anymore. I don’t want to experience that kind of stress and I want to write good essays, so that I can say that I couldn’t have done any better. I started out well this period, but then I got ill. Then I watched ‘Doctor Who’, because I couldn’t concentrate, because I was ill. A legitimate excuse, don’t you think? But, though I felt a lot better last week, I still found myself watching ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘True Blood’ instead of studying. Then I get irritated about myself and I feel guilty (and stressed) about not having done anything (yes, I have another deadline coming up. Two actually.)
What frustrates me the most about this situation is probably the fact that it isn’t simply a matter of making one good choice and – poof! – I’m a better person. No, it’s about making the right choice every freaking time my mind wanders off to who-knows-where, and every time I am severely tempted to watch ‘just one’ episode of a really exciting and fun series.
Right, I know I sound like an addict now, but I honestly think that it is hard work to change a habit, especially if this habit makes your life more fun most of the time and hasn’t caused any real problems – yet. That’s right, ‘yet’. Because eventually it’s just an accident waiting to happen.
Do you have that too? I mean a habit you really want to change, or are trying to change right now? I know you procrastinate too, but still I have the idea that you manage to do a lot more – you write songs, poetry and you finish stories (instead of just quitting because you don’t know where they’re going anymore) and I think they are amazing. How do you do that?
Lots of love,
P.S. This post was actually written a day before it was due! Writing this did however mean that I didn’t work on the essay – deadline tomorrow. On the bright side, I haven’t watched any episodes today. What do you think, are some reasons for procrastinating more legitimate than others?
P.S.2. Sorry that I did not react to the part about Turin Brakes. I could have, because just now I had a few thoughts about them, but I should not make this too long. Also, during writing I had numerous ideas for other things I could write about, but, well, actually I am proud that this post is about only one thing, and that my Wikipedia-like mind doesn’t show (that much).