I procrastinated on writing this vignette
“Are you hiding?”
A question I field a minimum of five times a week. A question whose answer is an unfortunate, but resounding “Yes.”
My parents ask me this question whenever they witness me wandering the house, making a snack, striking up pointless conversation with them, or carrying out basically any task that isn’t what I should be doing. In other words, they ask me this when I’m procrastinating. But why am I procrastinating? Why does anyone procrastinate, especially when they know the deadlines they are up against? In addition to that, what are people attempting to get out of procrastinating?
Procrastination is typically the idea that this thing I am currently doing is more fun that the thing I am doing. But how “fun” can it actually be, since whatever you are doing is unearned fun and clouded by the guilt of not completing the task you should be focusing on? Or, does procrastination have to do with fun at all? Over the course of my high school and college career, several of my friends have told, “I prefer to wait until the last minute because I work better under pressure.” Although this statement may be accurate for some, it is more likely that these students have been forced to become masters of working under pressure by virtue of victimized by the procrastination monster.
Procrastination seems to be a time-suck shared among all college students. We’re all smart kids, clearly, we go to UMBC. Yet, we can’t help but choose to spend our time reading funny tweets, scrolling through Facebook, and falling into the black hole that is YouTube videos. Given that more and more homework is done digitally and our phones are always nearby, loaded with our favorite apps, procrastination has never been easier! Yet, the aforementioned Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are loaded with advertisements and marketing, so to what extent has the unearned fun of procrastination become screen work?
Tim Urban, writer for the blog “Wait but Why,” has struggled with procrastination his whole career. It is a topic he has explored in his post, and most recently, in a rather charming TED Talk. Urban explains procrastination using three quirky characters: the rational decision maker, the instant gratification monkey, and the panic monster. He explains that the rational decision maker attempts to time manage carefully and stay on top of what needs to get done, but that ultimately the instant gratification monkey takes over and lures us into procrastinating. He then states that the monkey can only be scared off by the panic monster who shows up when a deadline gets too close and forces us to stop procrastinating and kick it into high gear. Through observation and interview I want to explore and locate the accuracy of this explanation. Is it a quaint take on one man’s battle with procrastination or is it truer than we’re willing to admit?
It seems to me that more people than not are victims of procrastination, so do non-procrastinators even exist? And is it appropriate to term procrastinators “victims,” since it is typically a self-induced pain? Of this self-induced pain, what is the most common form? What sorts of non-digital mediums do people use to procrastinate? And again, at the heart of it all, why do people procrastinate?