Procrastination is Not Cute

[Originally posted on October 18, 2014] 

Occasionally, I go on a rant about how annoyed I get at underclassmen.

Or newbies.

Or students of mine.


I'd like to apologize, because I realized I don't mind inexperienced people. I don't mind people who don't know where something is, or what something is called, or don't know that, if you want to look good while being lifted, you have to do a lot of work.



Throwback Noah Clark and I. Thanks Aida for the awesome shot.


I don't mind any of that.


I don't like procrastination. I just don't. 

I don't like the attitude that it's "fine." 

I don't like it when people play the "let's see how long I can avoid an assignment" game. 

I hate it when the procrastinator acts like it's "cute" to do it. 


You know why? 


Because it's not. 


It is not cute when you stayed up all night to finish an assignment... after spending the entire weekend watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Or Doctor Who. 


It is not cute when you act as though you couldn't have produced better work, because you didn't have the time. We're in the same class. We both had a month to write the paper. 


It is not cute when you take ten years of piano, yet you still read music like a second or third year because you continuously put off practicing. Continuously. For TEN YEARS. I know that, because I did that, and I wish I hadn't. 



(by the way, this is my public apology to Mrs. Jerome)




I'm not saying I didn't do it. I'm saying that I can see how infectious and bad it is for me, and I think I should have gotten my act together a long time before I did. 


The reality is, if you want to make something of your life, there will always be more, not less work. 

There will always be math. 

There will always be taxes.

There will always be papers. 

There will always be reports. 

There will always be research.

And you will always be the one to determine how good you are.


Now, before someone says that I'm being unfair, I'm throwing two things out there: 

1. I am a high-functioning procrastinator, meaning that I can get away with it, and used that for years (unless, of course, it was for Mrs. Jerome, who always knew. Always. She's like Snape that way).

2. I am not saying that you have to drive yourself crazy with work. I'm saying you need to manage your time. Some assignments take an hour. Some take twenty. Be honest and figure out how much time you need to do an AMAZING job and give yourself that much time. 


God gave us all a day off. On the same list as "Do Not Murder" and "Do Not Steal" and "Do Not Bear False Witness" there's a rule about "Take A Day Off Once A Week."


And I do. Oh, I do. I take my Sabbath, and work my butt off the rest of the week. And I don't do it so much that I stress myself out. 


But here's the thing: FIGURE YOU OUT. 


  • When you need to take a break, take one. Just work for longer than you break. 
  • Do you work better in the morning? Evening? I work better near the beginning and near the end of my day, so I usually start doing some required thing as soon as I wake up, take a break around lunch -- and relax for a couple of hours -- then resume work. 
  • Make a schedule and work long term, multiple part tasks into your routine. Read a chapter a day. Do a journal entry. Practice your musical instrument. 
  • Start a project, and then stop. I mean it. Start your paper, write for twenty minutes, and go back to it in a couple hours, if it's due that week, or days, if it's due in a couple weeks or more. Your brain is an amazing thing, and will be processing your work in the back of your head as you go about other tasks. 
  • Make a list. All the time. Check stuff off. I actually put my breaks on my list, so I manage how much time I'm not working. I even have an app, Wunderlist, to help keep me on task. 
  • Do you work better with music playing? In silence? I've been typing with headphones in and no music playing; I'm conditioned to work better with headphones in, whether or not there's music. 
  • Speaking of music, see if music without words or in a language you don't understand helps you work. I do a lot of writing to instrumental music; if it has lyrics, they can't be in English or easily distinguishable. 



In case you thought I was joking.


  • I pile up all the books and binders I'll need for my homework on the kitchen table and put them away as I get through that class's work and assignments. It helps me visualize all my work. 
  • Calendar alerts are a beautiful thing. 
  • Arrange your tasks so very different tasks are back to back: laundry, then writing, then cleaning the bathroom, then math, then going to the post office, etc. It keeps your brain from imploding. 
  • FOR THEATRE: I learn my lines best after the scene is blocked, so I have to work extra hard if I want my lines memorized before that happens (read: if I don't want to give the director a heart attack, my script is on me at all times until the show opens). 



But seriously, figure it out. 


Because procrastination isn't cute. 


It's just not. 


Thoughts? Opinions? Let me know!


Procrastination is for babies!