Have you ever met someone who defies all logic by putting off work until even after the very last possible moment it could be done? If so, you may know an individual with a condition called “procrastination.” As of now, there is no cure for this crippling and self-deprecating condition, but luckily, there are ways one can fight the desire to lay in bed for six hours instead of doing anything productive at all.
In a recent thoroughly conducted scientific survey—A.K.A me asking my friends why they procrastinate—some common symptoms of procrastination were identified and analyzed. The following are verified quotes from accurately self-diagnosed procrastinators.
- “I’m just too tired to do work right now”
- “I just got a 50% on that chem quiz, I deserve a 6-hour nap”
- “I just clicked on a random video, now I need to get sucked into the depths of YouTube for the next 45 minutes.
- “I take 10-minute study breaks that last about an hour”
Now, to understand these mind-boggling quotes, one must examine the cycle of procrastination: Fatigue, then Do Nothing, then Panic, and finally Work Frantically.
Stage 1: Fatigue.
One would think that the logical solution to this stage would be to just go to bed earlier and get more sleep. However, when talking to a procrastinator, you must remember that their brains do not accept this kind of logic. Sleep is also an insignificant concern when compared to their piles of unfinished homework. Instead, their instinct is to transition into the next stage of the procrastination cycle.
Stage 2: Do nothing.
When procrastinators unconsciously don’t want to do work, their brains feel tired and must rest by going on phones, watching Netflix, or sleeping. All of these are great self-care strategies, but procrastinators take them to the extreme by indulging in marathon Netflix binges on the daily, and doing nothing until around 11:00 at night when the underlying build-up of stress finally breaks their mental barrier, and they enter into a full panic mode.
Stage 3: Panic.
One difference between the procrastinator and the non-procrastinator is that the procrastinator’s stress levels do not motivate them to work any sooner than the day before something is due at the earliest. Usually, things end up being done in the hours before they are due, and are driven by an overwhelming surge of pure panic. Once the procrastinator finally regains the energy stored from laying in bed all day, this energy is chemically converted into alarms blaring in their brain reminding them that they have a ten-page paper due in five hours.
Stage 4: Work Frantically.
No one types louder than a procrastinator after midnight. One advantage of procrastination is the ability to condense a week’s worth of work into a single night of insane brain power. The stress and panic induced by obsessive procrastinating fuels record-breaking typing speeds and an unparalleled ability to work from midnight to 4 AM without pause. But these late-night brain explosions then bring us back to the first stage of the cycle the next morning: fatigue. And thus, the cycle continues for the life of those suffering from chronic procrastination.
Although this all may seem quite overwhelming for some of us, do not despair, for procrastination is a condition that you can live with. Friends and family suffering from procrastination can take advantage of apps that disable web-surfing for a predetermined time or use the life-saving cups of caffeine brought to you by your local coffee shop. Together, we can learn to live with procrastination.