I live alone. So, the other day I decided that it was about time I tried my cooking skills. Damnit, my cooking is horrible, I am gonna have to keep eating outside until I am “legally” married. So, I cooked. Then, I settled down to eat. I ate in like thirty minutes and then thought:
“I am gonna relax for a few minutes and then wash the dishes…”
I turned up the music and continued listening to whatever the Migos were shouting between the beats even though I understood very little of it.
After listening to my music for what seemed like ten minutes to me, I checked my watch because I was feeling sleepy as hell. Damn, I hadn’t been listening to the music for 10 minutes. It was already 23:07. I had to confirm the time on my phone in order to make sure that my watch hadn’t been smoking a joint and had decided to turn 10 minutes into over two hours.
Well, my phone confirmed it. It was indeed 23:07.
Who does the dishes at such a time though?
Two days later, the dishes are still not clean.
In order to get rid of the awful smell in the house, I had no otherwise but to force myself to wash them.
Procrastination… |prəˌkrastəˈnāSHən, prō-|
My primary school teacher used to say that it stole time…
When asked how to stop procrastinating, the answer he would shout in the classroom?
“Just stop procrastinating you, stupid kids!”
Damnit! If it was just this easy…
But, it is like asking someone how to go from being poor to stinking rich. And then the answer you get?
“Just stop being poor you stupid beggar!”
While we are still here giving advice, let’s just make sure that we tell obese people to stop being obese, short people to stop being short, depressed people to stop being depressed, and hey, you Simon, yes you, just go and tell those goddamn whales to stop being out of the ocean.
“Avoid procrastination” is advice that is only good for fake procrastinators. Those are the people who will be like:
When you ask these kinds of people for the advice on how to stop procrastinating again in order to just confirm whether they were sure about what they were talking about in the first place, the kind of improved advice you will hear is: “Just avoid procrastinating, you will be fine.”
I remember that first year in college. For the first time, I was living on my own. No dad and no mummy to tell me what I had to do when I forgot to do it. To say the least, my first year was a disaster! I did nothing. The only thing that I had to do is that there were those papers that needed to be handed in, to the lecturers every once in a while. I did those the night before.
With technology like WhatsApp and the other “the other thing” which everyone who was as lazy as me and has been through college will recognize I was able to survive. Okay, I will tell you what “the other thing is”. It is HARDWORKING STUDENTS. You know the kind who finish that assignment the same day when it is assigned? Yes, those.
All I had to do was chill until the very last day and then copy paste a message and send it out to three or four people. The message read:
I didn’t even know the difference between the word correct and collect. But, it worked.
The pictures would come rolling in. The only thing that remained for me was to copy-paste the whole thing and then hand it in the next day before everyone else.
This habit continued until that day when I couldn’t start working on my 30-page lab work report until 12 hours to the time when I was supposed to hand it in. This almost landed me in a hospital bed and I had to sit down in front of a doctor who was yelling while telling me that I had just missed death by a few inches. My blood sugar was too low.
I did manage to hand in the report. But, what do you expect? It was a shitty report.
Also, look here. You see this post that you are reading right now? It was supposed to happen last week but one. But what can I say….
The Mind of a Procrastinator…
I am paying you a ticket. No, not for watching the black panther. That one, you will have to pay for yourself. I am paying you a ticket to enter the mind of a procrastinator.
Okay, hold on a moment. Before you can enter the mind of a procrastinator, let’s do something else first. We need to study the mind of a non-procrastinator in order for us to understand that of a procrastinator.
So, here we go inside the mind of a non-procrastinator…
A non-procrastinator is a guy (or a girl for gender equality) who makes rational decisions. They are a very rare species though. If he is a dude, he is the kind of guy who will have the following kind of self-talk:
“I am a mature person. I think long-term. I do things that make a lot of sense. I am not a child!”
Let’s now shift from the rational thinking dude who doesn’t procrastinate to a procrastinator like me:
The procrastinator’s brain is made of two individuals:
- A rational decision maker.
- An instant gratification monkey.
In this case, the rational decision maker in the procrastinator’s brain lives with a very notorious individual – the instant gratification monkey. This would be awesome if the rational decision maker was a dude who liked monkeys as pets and he even knew how to control them. But, the rational decisional maker doesn’t have this kind of training. Actually, the monkey is kind of smarter. He usually makes sure that the rational decision maker doesn’t get to do his job.
On a typical day when the procrastinator is trying to make a decision, the conversation inside his head between the rational decision maker and the monkey will be like:
The thing is, this dude we are calling the instant gratification monkey is the last guy that should be in charge of making decisions. Dude thinks of only the present. Dude ignores what he learned in the past, and also ignores that there is a future ahead of him. The only thing he wants is the maximum pleasure and ease of what is going on at the current moment.
He never understands the random decision maker. He actually thinks that the random decision maker is lame. The random decision maker doesn’t understand the instant gratification monkey either.
The instant gratification monkey’s thoughts are always like:
The instant gratification monkey always thinks that human beings are insane.
In his little monkey world, he has everything already figured out – sleep, when you feel tired, eat when you feel hungry, and never do anything difficult, – you are as successful as monkeys ever get in their world.
The problem with the procrastinator is that he is living in a human world and not in a monkey world. This makes the instant gratification monkey an intruder. However, the rational decision maker had a lousy trainer. He taught him of how to only make rational decisions and never how to put on a spirited fight and win against the instant gratification monkey. The only thing he does is feeling worse and worse about himself for losing fights that he didn’t even fight in the first place.
It’s a mess in there. Inside the head of a procrastinator. The monkey is in control. The procrastinator is forced to live in the monkey world which is something like this:
It is a crazy world…
… Until an unforgiving dude shows up.
We will call him the panic monster!
The dude is huge! Ever watched Hercules? Yes? He is bigger than Hercules.
He scares the shit out of the instant gratification monkey. The panic monster is sleeping most of the time but wakes up when the deadline is too close, there is a danger of being publicly embarrassed, there is a career disaster lurking around the corner, or there is some very scary consequence.
The panic monster goes like:
The instant gratification monkey takes off and leaves the random thinker alone who was also not trained on how to hop on trees and disappear.
This is when you start working on overdrive.
Well, how else can you explain how someone who couldn’t find time to write even a single sentence over a period of two weeks finds time to complete a 30-page assignment within 2 hours?
Now, do me a favor…
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