Interviewer: What are your hobbies?
Me: reading, writing, music, and stuff
Interviewer: well these are all something of a cliché. Anything out of the box?
Me: Ohh procrastination.
Of course, I said that in my head.
Ever had this mind numbingly terrifying hobby?
Well, it’s my favorite hobby. Not a hobby per sé, more like a habit, a very unsettling yet enjoyable habit. It’s like having your brain divided into two halves. One, wanting to do everything right, just in time. The other one, the procrastinator side, wanting to just not care until the last minute arrives. Such a shame I don’t get paid for this hobby of mine. Well, I have to get a job first. Currently, I’m caught between the memories of my final semester days.
The final semester !! The glory days of saving mental clicks of mixed emotions of the happiness of starting a new life and the sadness of having to leave this beautiful time. But whoa! What about the impalpable tension of completing the final semester project! Well, these projects are tough. But not tough enough to break my habit of procrastination *wide grin*
“The project” was assigned to our class six months ago. A normal student would have figured out a plan, spread the work piecewise for each month, schedule a timetable and prepare himself with the extra stuff required; to be ready with the final project before the deadline. If I keep the “procrastinator’s mind” aside, this was the exact way; I planned my project. I would move slowly the first two months, catch up with the racing speed in the mid months and would submit the real-time working model before the final date. And bam! Sounds perfect!
But, there’s always this “but” right! And so, “But” God looks down at me and says- “Ohh really? ‘Cause life’s just that kind?” and so the big beam of the real picture. Those first few months came and went by in a jiffy. Yet, focusing on the half filled portion of my glass and, I took a deep breath. And being an extraordinary planner, deduced a revised and more awesome plan to complete the work in the left over months. But those mid months too came flying like a kite and left with a broken string and a huge string cut in my awesome plan. This was the time when I got clueless of what my project is going to be. And suddenly *siren blow* One morning the siren of my instincts rang like the call of the judgment day! Just six days left to the deadline. Bang! It was like an army charging and fighting with all the braveness but then finding that there’s no way left to fall back. So gearing up, the superhero within me awakens and then starts the series of sleepless nights and hopeless days. Like a two-legged donkey I keep on chewing the hay (the procrastinator side) and still trying to carry the huge sack of on my back to complete the work (the less dominant working side) The days of toiling finally pay out and the project gets completed just when the heartbeat line of the deadline was about to go straight. Hash! What a relief.
Now this story would have been a totally different one if it wasn’t for my procrastinating side of that brain. Because of it, I never had a healthy relationship with deadlines. I’ve never been able to shake my habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. Believe me, it’s no one’s wish to push things to the last seconds of those last hours of the last day. But somehow it ends up on the same note every single time, be it the assignments, the semester exams, the homework and even writing this article too fell prey to the same fate of my imprudent nature!
But how a procrastinator’s mind is different from a non- procrastinator’s mind? Why are we not able to assemble the work and it ends up getting piled up into a huge abyss of pending works for the last day? Well, the writer Tim Urban explains the concept in the most exact and yet comical way. He says that the procrastinator’s brain is actually different from other people. A non- procrastinator’s brain has a rational decision maker. A procrastinator’s brain along with a rational decision maker has an instant gratification monkey. It means everything is fine until!
The rational decision maker- “it’s the perfect time to start our work and get it just completed”.
But the Instant gratification monkey- Nope!
Inside a procrastinator’s mind, the rational decision maker wants to get things completed and do something productive but this instant gratification monkey wants to play. It takes the wheel and lands us on the site of our latest TV series or to the latest video games, the sneak peak of the movies and shredding the last hint of self-respect, ends up on the non-use pranks videos. It says, this all is going to take some time, so no work today. The monkey inside the procrastinator’s mind lives entirely in the present. It has no memory of the past and no knowledge or even curiosity of the future. Having fun and going easy are its only goals. The only thing it is terrified of is- the panic monster. The panic monster appears when we’re in a dark playground, the place in our mind where all the leisure activities happen at the time when they’re not supposed to be happening. The panic monster shoos off the monkey and gives the wheel back to the rational decision maker, who wiping its Ohh-so-tensed forehead, gets the work completed at those last minutes. Obviously, this is not at all what one calls; a good habit. So sweat not it can be remedied. All we need is to be aware of the monkey because all it leaves us with is regrets and unhappiness.
But, on a serious note, then why do we still procrastinate? The more we’re afraid to fail, the more we’re afraid to even give it a try. We tell ourselves that this is the hard thing and it’s going to be difficult before we actually give it a go. Before even starting the work, we squeeze ourselves in the contemptible zones. We crave for instant results, surmise the work in the most obscure ways and end up perplexing. And this all happens at the moment when deep down we already know nothing is impossible, well we all know the word itself comprises of “I am possible”. But there is a tendency to get de-motivated. This very little thought is what we need to get rid of. We should learn to enjoy the journey rather than the destination. Things done under pressure might get us the results but it simply restricts our best version.
We need to give it a thought, what we’re procrastinating and is it the right time to do so? And to make it appear less scary, depicting a cartoon character- like a samurai we should slay our actions of delaying or postponing something.
So I’m procrastinating my procrastination.
I’ve got lots of time right, so maybe not today!
But yes sometime soon.
Till then happy procrastinating!