As exam and dissertation season rapidly approaches (seriously, where did the last three years even go) procrastination yet again rears its ugly head. I vividly remember learning the word for everything I did when I was meant to be revising for my end of year exams in high school: they ranged from re-reading Secret Seven books (no regrets) or curling my hair which, if you know me at all, is a lost cause and can take hours of attempts. It was one of those reassuring moments when you realise you are not alone.
But with never-ending choice of distractions, procrastination is becoming an ever more present spectre. Now my methods have become somewhat more sophisticated: relentlessly reading online media (topics ranging from those bloody lists on how you know if you did something at some point because of some pictures and captions that I’m sure were created for this exact purpose, to scathing exposés on the failings of previous and current governments around the world), browsing high end retail stores for my perfect ‘I mean business’ look, despite the fact that I live in leggings and mom jeans, and browsing home and furniture sales because I have a house now that I’m a grown up (read: playing house until she has to move back with mum and dad after graduating).
Oh who am I kidding, I still try to curl my hair sometimes as well.
But what does this mean for our productivity and our quality of life? Are we so switched on to work all the time that our brain is frantically trying to have some down time, or are attention spans becoming shorter, thus resulting in people being unable to pay attention to one task at a time?
There’s no question that we are becoming more accustomed to many things going on around us at once, people are suffering from ever increasing sleep problems due to spending too long staring at screens and working right up until they go to bed or, worse, into the night. Similarly smartphones make us accessible at all times so emails need to be answered within hours instead of days and social media means we can show off our picture perfect life in a click a swipe and another click. Along with a witty caption, obviously.
There’s something so lovely about those moments of naughty divergence, like a truant entering into the procrastination wormhole. Last weekend my flatmate and I decided to go rogue and instead of going to the library at the crack of 1pm cleaned our entire kitchen and living room, under the premise that it would make it a viable workspace. The result? A sparkling clean living space and us being too tired to work so we curled up, ordered pizza and watched Harry Potter. But I finished my essay today and before the deadline, so what’s the harm?
I guess what I’m getting at here is the jam-packed potential of procrastination. Yes it reveals problems with our modern society but instead of shying away from it, claim it. Harness the potential of that ‘lost’ time. One of my recently graduated friends recently lamented her eternal free time because pissing about on the Internet is only fun when you’re avoiding doing something more pressing and serious.
And in the absence of procrastination my house gets super scuzzy.