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Procrastination Day

Posted on Tuesday 28th November 2006 at 00:00
Alas, today is yet again one of those awful days in which I prove to myself (and anyone else who cares) that I am without a doubt my own worst enemy. That's right folks, it's Procrastination Day! Basically it works like this: tomorrow I have a major coursework deadline for a piece of work I've not yet started. This coursework is worth a lot of marks, so really I need to do quite well in it. Given that I've got 5 hours of free time between lectures today, I have come to the computer room in order to get cracking.

At least, that is, I had 5 hours & I've already been here for well over an hour and haven't done anything more than read through the question so far. Sadly this is pretty much the routine every time I have work I need to do. I've got myself into such a poor mindset that I will do everything I possibly can to put off actually doing the work until the very last minute. I have 5 hours now and then as much of this evening as there is left by the time I've had dinner in which to get it done. I know for a fact that I'm not going to start working properly until at least midnight.

If I cast my mind back to the days of maths homework (perhaps the earliest memories I have of having to do academic work that I really hated) I'm confronted with a vision of myself sitting for hour upon hour at my desk shuffling the contents of my pencil case around the desk or needlessly sharpening my pencils over and over. I used to call it 'psyching up time' and it was invariably three or four times as long as the work itself took. Thing was, I couldn't go off and do something I actually wanted to do, because as far as I was concerned, I was about to start working any moment, and yet for some reason I couldn't actually bring myself to just get on with it, even though I knew in the back of my mind that it would be a whole lot less painful for me to get it over and done with. I wonder now how much of my childhood was wasted because of this seeming inability to get on with my work.

As I've grown older and fatter, many things about my life have changed, but seemingly not my work ethics. These days, everything has to be done on computer, and often the internet too, and this has lead to a whole new field of procrastination into which I can immerse myself whenever hard work beckons. It is for thai reason that I am writing here now, and why I've gone and read all the comments on all the blogs I follow, as well as taking a look a lots of other websites to kill the time. The really stupid thing is that I've been writing this for just a few minutes now and I've already written about 500 words. Given that the essay word limit is only 2000, at this rate I could write the whole thing in an hour. Ok, so I know there is a little bit more to it than that, what with this just being my train of thought and that being a detailed and accurate essay on European Union Law, but even so.

A girl a couple of computers away from me is doing the same work. She sits there with all the papers and notes spread all over her desk. Her notes look detailed, with highlighted sections and annotations, and she has at least two textbooks, to which she constantly refers. She is on question 5 apparently. She recognised me from a class and so we got talking. Her manner suggests that although she is on the last question and will probably soon be finished, she would normally have done it all by now.

She seems surprised and slightly amused when I tell her I've not yet started. Surprised because she can't imagine how anyone can leave it so late. Amused in the slight half laughing way that everyone is when you tell them how much further behind in the work you are than them. It is a laugh of relief, as if to say 'Thank God that isn't me, wasting my time and already impossibly far behind. Thank God I've already got through the worst of it and won't have to suffer again what you are about to go through.?

I'm not sure whether or not I envy such people. In many ways I guess I do, as I envy the me of this time tomorrow, who will have the relief, satisfaction and inexplicable happiness that comes from having a heavy weight removed from your mind. It is my own fault I know. I am my own worst enemy. Yet, I can no more control my compulsion to be lazy and fight against every little thing I don't want to do than I can control my compulsion to breathe.

I guess that is what they call a personality trait.

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