Perfecting the art of procrastination
The threat of a major deadline looms ahead, yet you can't seem to stop playing virtual crossword or watching old "Jeopardy" clips on YouTube.
The clock ticks away, and you know your future self is going to despise you, but there is something so delicious about ignoring your responsibilities.
This is an all-too-familiar feeling for many of us. Everyone always wishes they had more time, but when this wish actually is granted, we generally don't capitalize on it.
We all have an internal procrastinator, one that convinces us that one more episode is a necessity, that five more minutes of rest can't hurt — and it's true, taking a break every now and then is a vital part of self-care.
The real trouble starts when one episode turns to 10, and five minutes turns into two-and-a-half hours. That's when you start to face consequences: all-nighters, moments of intense panic, a constant hum of anxiety, and final products that are generally lower in quality.
Obviously, procrastination is a hindrance. So why do so many of us still do it? The same reason we engage in any other negative behavior: We're human.
I don't think it's fair to chalk up procrastination to laziness and nothing else. I know plenty of hardworking, intelligent, and talented people who struggle to finish tasks or even get started. We crave perfection and we fear failure. In the moment, it feels like the best way to handle these sentiments is to put off our tasks as long as we can.
For almost all of last year, people told me to get a head start on my college applications. Making note of this advice, I made a Common Application account over the summer and started researching schools.
It was smooth sailing until I hit the essay questions, and I simply could not bring myself to type more than a sentence. The thought of trying to capture the essence of who I am in a measly 650 words made my head spin. I wanted the essays to be flawless, and I kept convincing myself that my future self would write a better essay.
Eventually, the time came where I absolutely had to do the essays, or I wouldn't meet the deadline. It's not easy, and it's definitely far from enjoyable, but everyone has to reach this point where they accept their work as it is and move on.
It's a vicious cycle that's easy to get trapped in — fear of failure drives procrastination, and in turn procrastination gives you the very end result you so dreaded. It's easier said than done, but learning to be content with ourselves and our work is the first step in breaking these deeply ingrained habits.
Sydney Byun is a senior at Wilsonville High School.
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