Thoughts on Procrastination

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Disclaimer: If I haven’t already, let me clarify one thing. This blog is pretty much completely opinion-based, so therefore posts like “High School vs. Change” and the one you’re about to read involve little to no research and are pretty much passionate (thus, ad hominem) rants. However, I do plan on being objective where it counts, and any rants of your own about what I do here is welcome. Until then, I’ll just ramble on, I suppose...

Procrastinating is something that we’re all guilty of doing, however, I think it’s something that isn’t worth being guilty about at all. There are pretty much two main causes to procrastination as I see it.

First one’s pretty simple, boredom. We’re bored with work, bored with the place we work, bored with the people we work with, bored with the sad reality that our work won’t stop, etcetera. Procrastination tends to kick in after you realise that you could, in fact, be doing something else. You could either be doing something that makes you feel good, or something that actually benefits others in a bigger way. But most of the time, you end up watching the latest episode of your favourite TV show or something, mainly due to your inabilities to do the latter bit: to benefit the world somehow (Gotta say, sounds like a lot more work). The sad thing is that it’s perhaps a result of your work or whatever makes you bored to begin with (or maybe just sheer laziness). At the end of it all, you end up feeling like another Homer Simpson having done nothing, if not, done something wrong that leaves your situation worse than when you entered it.

And the saddest thing of all is that it’s a repeated cycle, as if it’s instinctively human for us to procrastinate, which leads me to my second point: it is. It’s an everyday problem because it’s a biological problem. The video below pretty much explains all that must be explained…

 

 

The whole thing pretty much revolves around this thing called “present bias”, which involves how we see things relatively (or how we fail to do so) and how we think a presented situation should benefit us…in the meantime. Towards the end, the video also demonstrates ways we could minimise procrastination, and they could be useful. But it would take lots (and lots) of willpower, habit-slashing, and pretty much all-out brainwashing to integrate these solutions in a way that eliminates procrastination entirely. In other words, you have to somehow be this combination of a straight-up workaholic and a zen monk.

Of course, it all starts with the mindset, which should be as explained at the 2:05 mark in the video: to avoid seeing work as a negative thing. In the end, though, a simple mindset can only influence you so much. Sometimes you have to face it, work or whatever feels like a heavy load to you is stressful, not just by mindset, but by reality (as it has a large biological aspect to it as well). It physically drains you, and squeezes the intellectual (and emotional) capacity to carry on out of your brain. If anything, it’s the exact opposite situation of an episode out of Pokemon, where love, passion, and continuous belief achieves pretty much every ambition and guarantees success. Paperwork won’t do itself as long as you believe in it: you gotta get your hands dirty and invest some time and effort that could potentially drain the heck out of you.

The only way procrastination can be eliminated effectively is through motivation, and motivation is pretty much tied to the backs of incentives. These are likely to be in the forms of the two things that get you procrastinating to begin with that I eluded to earlier: benefits that reward yourself and benefits that reward others. However, these incentives to work harder and stay focussed, thanks to present bias, may seem intangible, like a late pay or a scholarship. Heck, even a simple grade may seem hollow, perhaps due to how the immediate effects of a good grade aren’t completely obvious or relevant at the time being. I, for one, being a student, feel like I’m chasing empty goals. If anything, a good grade is just a small boost forward into getting another good grade.

There are multiple other factors that contribute to procrastination, but even at this point, you might think that it requires specific circumstances to get into procrastination, when in fact, it’s quite the opposite. It requires specific circumstances to avoid procrastination. Not only does it require much focus and dedication, but it needs a goal and cause that you feel passionate about, even remotely. As much as procrastination is like a wildfire, caused by a tiny spark, so is being able to not only work, but work passionately. It simply requires the right match to light up the right kind of flames, and more often than not, that match is hard to find.


 

Continuing the metaphor, the right match is a rare one simply because the factories producing it have gone out of business. Well, at least within our regions, which may be the schools, governments, or companies that we’re under. They don’t foster interest and think that someway, somehow, we’ll get along just fine with whatever we’re doing. They look at the problem of procrastination, which hinders productivity in a big way, and scoff at it. They say “Don’t procrastinate!”, without realising how vague it really is to follow such a command. It’s like saying “Don’t die!”. What’s that meant to mean? Sometimes, the hand that feeds you is worth biting if it only wants to stuff crap down your throat, and such is the case.

Sorry to end on a sad note, but in the meantime, the alternatives to schools, governments, and companies simply aren’t here. In fact, they make up what we know as the entirety of society today, and therefore, society will, for a long time, be boring and mundane. As long as that’s the case, procrastination will continue to exist. It’s a problem we definitely don’t address enough, and the last thing we need to do is procrastinate on doing that.