Procrastination is a waste of time. Though this thought is at first glance rather trivial, we all need to be reminded of the easily-forgotten wisdom it contains. It seems that no matter how firmly I believe in the truth of this simple statement, I am doomed to rediscover its wisdom time and again.
Allow me to share my most recent encounter with the wasteful habit of procrastination. My English professor assigned the first paper of the year to my class. As I listened to her explain the details of the assignment my mind began to race with possible topics I could write on. I, as a responsible student, decided I would come up with my topic that very day to get a head start. At this point, I had over a week to think through and polish my first essay.
Here I sit; it is less than 12 hours before the essay is due and inevitably my mind is blank. I have not progressed an inch from the place I was a week ago when I first began pondering my essay topic. I avoided at all costs any work beyond brainstorming possible topics. Do not misunderstand me, I did not think all week because I was incapable of coming up with an idea that was good enough to write a paper on. Instead I spent all week shooting down great topic ideas because I did not want to write a paper at all. I procrastinate not out of a lack of ability, but because of a complete lack of motivation.
If my problem stems from a mere lack of motivation, what must I do to fix it? The answer is rather obvious; I must find motivation. I have discovered only one form of motivation: deadlines. The only thing that can push me to begin the tedious task of writing an essay is the knowledge that I am running out of time. Time is funny in this situation as I have wasted more time thinking about writing the paper than it would have taken me to actually write it. If I began my essay that first night, I would have finished it a week ago. However, there was no motivation to actually sit down and crank it out as there was no threat of an approaching deadline.
The only solution to the problem of procrastination is to let it run its course. Without procrastinating the deadline would never approach to force me to do my work. Therefore, if I lacked the skill of procrastination I would never actually begin any project. Ironically, I also would not have had a topic to write my essay on. So thank you procrastination for being a system that works through your deadline motivation and, in this situation, for providing me with a topic for my first essay of the year.
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