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Mastering the art of procrastination

| Thursday, February 7, 2019

Procrastination is often shamed. Sometimes we internally shame ourselves at 2 a.m. on Monday mornings. Other times, we sense the silent shame on the upper levels of Club Hes. Nevertheless, just the word itself has negative connotations — but I like to think procrastination can actually be beneficial.

There is a certain art to procrastinating, if done correctly. (Note: “correct” in terms of this possibly pointless argument is entirely subjective. Everyone does their work on different timelines). Procrastination can fuel creativity and thus help you create better content, solve problems uniquely, write more interesting essays, etc.

I asked a few of my friends how they procrastinate, and it goes to show we all have our own means of avoiding work. One of my friends said he simultaneously plays video games and watches television. Another said she enjoys knocking on doors and yelling, “hall staff!” My most organized friend said she makes lists of everything she needs to do in her planner and just stares at the lists. I don’t believe her. Several said they clean, and honestly, cleaning might be the best form of procrastination. I don’t really know, but if we consider it logically, there is value: if your room is clean, you probably have a smaller chance of getting sick, which means you can keep doing your work, or keep procrastinating. In the end, it’s a win-win.

There are definitely some ways of procrastinating that virtually don’t appear to have meaning. For me, these include — but are definitely not limited to — making Spotify playlists with the same music as my other playlists, staying at NDH too long talking to friends after dinner and my favorite: going on walks around the library. Are these forms of procrastination really useless? I don’t think so. For one, socializing releases endorphins, and endorphins rock.

For me, the best form of procrastination, which I don’t do very often but should, is to let my mind wander. Some people might call this daydreaming, but think about how often you sit down in a comfy chair or lay down in the snow (your pick) and don’t do anything. It can lead to an awesome brainstorm about academic subjects, or just a long to-do list for the day, week or month ahead. Sometimes, it leads to a series of random questions Googled. Where did the squirrels go during the polar vortex? Is iced coffee really just hot coffee cooled? How much wood can a woodchuck actually chuck? Other times, the stream of ideas ends up on a note in my phone, post-it notes covering my desk or note cards taped on my wall. The amazing thing is, once I take the time to allow my brain to get started on its own terms, I feel more creative, more awake and more engaged in my school work. I have more ideas for essays, and the homework for my core science class actually seems bearable.

If you’re still reading this, thanks for using my column as your chosen means of procrastination today. Hopefully it emphasized the “pro” in procrastination!

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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