One month. Four weeks. Twenty-eight days. 672 hours. That’s how much time I had to do a research paper. This sounds like a lot of time, however, as a procrastinator, one month isn’t much. A procrastinator only uses a small percentage of the time given.
One week passed and my document was blank. However, I’m not worried. No one has started working on this essay yet, why should I? Plus, I have a lot of other work to do that is due earlier. Those assignments should be my top priority.
Two weeks passed and I only had my introduction written for my essay. Again, I’m not worried. Two weeks is still a lot of time to finish this. I finished all my other work, so I am just going to focus on this paper.
One week. I’m constantly telling myself that I am going to work on the paper. I have taken a good amount of notes. Okay, maybe not. However, I can finish this assignment if I do a handful of work every day. I should be fine.
Three days. Now I was starting to worry. I barely have anything done on my essay and I know nothing about my topic. I only took half a page of notes and those notes were in twenty font and they were triple spaced so it wasn’t much at all. The work I have done so far is equivalent to a third grader’s homework assignment.
Midnight. The paper is due at eight o’clock. I have eight hours to bang out four pages about a Roman Emperor. I sit down at my desk and open up my document. At the top of the screen, six words sting my eyes and bring me to a panic; “Last edit made three weeks ago.”
If you have experienced a situation like this one, then you are a procrastinator. Imagine having a big assignment due in a couple weeks, one that can make or break your grade. Non-procrastinators would finish this assignment within half the time it is due. Procrastinators do everything last minute. Most of them go through the same stages. Let’s go through the life of a procrastinator.
The Relaxing Stage
The procrastinator is comfy in his bed, Netflix is loading on his laptop, he has a bag of chips in his hand. Life is good and there are no worries at the moment. Thoughts about the assignment are buried in the back of his head and they are at the bottom of his mental priority list. Right now, he just have to finish this season of The Flash. The Relaxing Stage sounds great, however, the more we love it, the bigger hole we dig ourselves into. Each episode of a TV show we watch is another hour to work on a project, essay, or assignment gone. But procrastinators don’t think about that when they are engrossed on an episode of The Walking Dead.
The Halfway Stage
“One more episode… one more episode… just one more. Or maybe I should start working on my essay.” These thoughts haunt his mind as a deadline creeps nearer. He is torn between watching more episodes or playing another round on a game and working on the assignment. In this stage, he starts to worry about not having enough time to finish his work and he also regrets not working on the assignment earlier. However, at the end, he somehow convinces himself that he will still be able to finish, despite half of his time gone. Another couple episodes won’t hurt, right?
The Panic Stage
Okay, now the procrastinator is really in a tough situation. The due date is very close and he barely has any work done. The only thing he has accomplished is binge watching four seasons in two weeks. A cluster of emotions including anger, anxiety, despair, and regret boil inside him. His stress level is at its peak and he is starting to panic pretty badly. In his mind, he starts to calculate how much time he has left to do the assignment and how and when he is going to do it. The procrastinator stops caring about other things such as television, video games, sports, etc and all he wants to do is to start working on the assignment and get it done.
The Grind Stage
The procrastinator is at his desk and the lamp is on. He flings open his laptop, grabs his notes, and is ready to work on the assignment. He checks how much time he has left to finish this. Twelve hours. He lets out a groan of frustration. Welp, can’t stop now. He even thinks about not doing the assignment and just getting a zero and possibly failing the class. But he quickly dismisses that thought. He begins to type away. Time goes by and he gets closer and closer to finishing. Energy drink cans clatter on the floor and sweat drips down his cheek. Several hours later, he clicks the period button one last time to seal off his assignment. Done.
The Relief Stage
It is 4:30 and he gets ready for school at 6:00. He gets off his chair, climbs onto his bed under his covers and immediately falls asleep. When he wakes up, he realizes that it was one of the best sleeps he has had in awhile, despite it only being an hour and a half. It is because he feels a humongous weight being lifted off his shoulders. All the stress he has gathered up inside him just evaporates. Although exhausted, he actually enjoys his day. This stage fills procrastinators with satisfaction and pride. They would look exhausted and terrible, however they feel accomplished.
Although procrastination almosts screws us over in a lot of situations, it sticks to us like a parasite. It’s a part of us and it fits with our personality. Just because we are procrastinators, it doesn’t mean we are bad students or workers and it doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t care about the work we need to do. It is very difficult to break the habit of procrastinating, so we just stick with it. Maybe we just love the feeling of finishing a project after weeks of laying it off, or maybe we just don’t care about our objectives until we realize how important they really are. No matter the case is, we (usually) get everything done.