Confessions of a Master Procrastinator

Time: 1:57am
Assignment word count: 1026/3000
Due: 9:00am

If you at all relate to the above, welcome to my world.

I would consider myself a true master of very few things in life, but I could teach a comprehensive course on how to procrastinate.

I could write a great thesis on it, if I wasn’t too busy procrastinating.

Even in writing this post I am procrastinating from about 10 other things that I should be doing.

And maybe thats the problem. I think of myself as a ‘productive’ procrastinator. This means I procrastinate by doing things that are less urgent than the assignment I should be writing. The issue here is that it makes me feel like I am still technically doing something, and hence takes away some of the guilt and panic I feel about the 3000 word research proposal that I should have finished by now.

But the problem with being busy, and being a so-called productive procrastinator, is that there is never any shortage of things to do to procrastinate from the thing which has the most imminent deadline.

I have been asked many times how do I do everything I need to do, and still function as a coherent human being. And there is no easy answer, plus sometimes I don’t sleep, as evidenced by me currently writing this at 2am.

But there are some things I have picked up that help alleviate procrastination. These might seem obvious to some people who actually have their lives together* but it took me a while to learn.

*by this I mean people who do their laundry BEFORE they run out of clothes.

1. Try to love what you do.

This is easier said than done for some people. But this is the single biggest thing that has changed the way I work. If I actually give a shit about what I am working on, the chances of me actually finishing a task are much higher.
This applies across the board, and there are ways to change your work into something you care at least a little bit about. Wherever possible, pick an assignment topic you are actually interested in, as opposed to one you think will be easy.
If you are lucky enough to have a job you love, good for you (but also I sort of hate you). If not, try turning a retail or service job into something more interesting by making friends and finding the comedy in the mundane.

2. Try to plan ahead.

A calendar app on my phone has changed my life. Google Calendar is fine but I personally use the free app Sunrise because it lets you combine multiple calendars (including FB events) in one place. Set your reminders well and then you never have to remember a thing about your life ever again, because trying to remember things like meetings, birthdays and due dates is half the battle. Taking away that stress helps immensely.

3. Give yourself permission to have bad days.

Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Handing an assignment a day late or forgetting a deadline seems horrific at the time, but I can promise you will survive.
Theres nothing wrong with holding yourself to a high standard. But beating yourself up isn’t constructive.

Theres a fine line between acknowledging failure and clinging to it. 

– The Master Procrastinator