I’ve studied with procrastination my entire life. When I was younger, I was awful, especially in high school. I was routinely staying up until 4 a.m. to finish papers, reading assignments and homework. I pulled an all-nighter the night before the AP US History test because I hadn’t even cracked the AP study guide book my parents had so helpfully bought me … and I read it all. in. one. night. (I got a 3 on the exam, BTW)
Throughout college, I was actually better about procrastination. It may have been that I really enjoyed setting my own schedule, without parents to tell me what to do, sports to schedule around, etc. I’ve always been kind of an independent kid, so I think that’s mostly the reason. The other part of the reason was that I realized life without guilt (some assignment hanging over your head) is so much more fun than life with guilt.
Sure, walking over to The Coug at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday was going to be fun no matter what. But let me tell you, it was way more fun when I realized that I could stay there as long as I wanted (and maybe even partake in a few extra beers …) because I didn’t have to rush home and crank out an 8-page paper on communication theory.
I’ll be honest, it didn’t happen this way all the time. I definitely procrastinated in college, but I did FAR fewer all-nighters in 4 years of college than I did in 3 years of high school.
I’ve tried to take this idea to heart — that getting not-so-fun stuff out of the way early makes room for fun opportunities down the road. Sometimes, that’s not enough.
At work recently, there’s been 2 MONSTER assignments that have been plaguing me for a couple weeks now. I’m not sure why, but they kicked me back into procrastination in a big way. I’m not in danger of missing a deadline or getting in trouble, but those assignments have been hanging over my head every single hour of every single day … in the office and at home. I haven’t been this bad since high school.
I think part of it has to do with me having unreasonable expectations of myself. Also, I have been told (and I happen to think the same) that I am a good writer, so for me to feel like I have no idea where to start or what I’m doing is a big raincloud over me.
It’s getting down to crunch time, though, and I plowed through the first part of one of the assignments this morning, and kept telling myself: “You just do your best. If you do everything you possibly can to make this the best product you can, including research, reviews and editing, nobody can make you feel bad about it. Not even yourself.”
And you know what? Knock on wood, but it hasn’t been as bad as I’ve expected. Maybe just stewing on it for 2 weeks built it up in my head, but for the first time in 14 days, I feel like it’s going to work out okay. 🙂
image from SOCIALisBETTER (yes, that is sort of what my procrastination monster looks like, thank you for asking)