Better Life: Procrastination

Life advice from someone who has a lot of life left to live.


I read a post recently from a friend. She said, “I have a book from the library that is about two weeks overdue at this point. I keep putting “return book” on my to-do list everyday, but find myself pushing it aside, or finding better things to do than go to the library. The title of the book? A Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting Things Done.” When I read the post, I laughed because I procrastinate a lot. It’s not one of my more charming habits, I’ll admit, but it’s something I do nonetheless.

  There was one time where I had an A.P. Psychology project due on a Friday night. We had about a month, maybe even more, to complete the project, but the most I had done was selected a topic. I sat down at my computer as soon as I got home from school the day it was and due and worked feverishly for nine hours straight. I’m not exaggerating; for nine hours I researched, analyzed, and compiled data for this project. I was too busy to even eat dinner until two in the morning; but let me tell you, my dinner tasted like victory when I ate it. I had once again done a halfway decent job on a project I waited until the very last moment to complete.

  I have heard similar stories from classmates about procrastinating. As a senior getting ready for college, my procrastination has really caught up with me. That A.P. Psychology project I worked on was two hours late. Thankfully, my teacher didn’t mind, but I can’t be two hours late for a college application. They will say ‘sorry about your luck’ and throw all of my hard work away. And, while I try my darndest to stay ahead, somehow I always fall behind again.

  Life is one big balancing act. You have to be able to balance school work, friends, family, extracurricular activities, jobs, and possibly more. When you really break it down, you spend six hours sleeping if you’re lucky, seven hours in school. In the rest of the 11 hours in your day, you need to eat, bathe, socialize, work, go to practice, and do whatever else it is you want to do. I mean, just thinking about all the work I have to do in that surprisingly small window of time stresses me out. So I procrastinate instead, telling myself that I’m just taking a little break from everything.

  Everyone has to learn at some point that you have to keep your head down and keep pushing forward. It’s like Dory says in Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.” Keep working on that big A.P. Psychology project, or the math homework that is due next Wednesday. In the end, if you chip away at your tasks little by little, they are less overwhelming, and you will actually accomplish much more. By doing some now, you save yourself some work and precious time later. Not to mention the amount of opportunities you have goes up because now you have the time to put into them.

  This is easier said than done, believe me. You’ll probably have to try several different ways to keep yourself ahead of schedule until you find one that works for you. Maybe you keep a calendar somewhere with all of your due dates written in it. Or perhaps you set up reminders before things are due. I know it seems tedious now, but trust me, it will help you in the end. As author Wayne Dyer put it, “Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded.”

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