How to: procrastinate

Eh, I’ll think of a subhead later

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

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Before our oasis arrives, I have some tips to ensure your summer is as enjoyable as possible.

I was going to cover procrastination in this column last semester, but I decided to put it off for a while. 

I also just stopped myself from watching a movie because I realized this article is due in three hours. On second thought, I’ll be back. Let’s call it research.

Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery at something. I can almost guarantee I’ve spent at least that much time neglecting responsibilities, so I’m well equipped to teach you everything you need to know about procrastinating.

There are plenty of ways to justify waiting until the last minute. I’ve told myself nearly all of them at some point to justify watching five hours of WatchMojo videos instead of being productive. 

“I work well in high-pressure situations.” 

“I have better things to do.”

“I know it won’t take me that long.”

All of these are lies. The truth is, that essay you’re writing just isn’t as interesting as doing literally anything else.

Want to know what will make it interesting? Waiting until it seems completely impossible to get it done on time.

It’s an exhilarating experience. Plus, it’s a lot more memorable.

Five years down the road, I’m not going to remember that assignment I started with plenty of time to spare and calmly completed in a responsible manner.

Guess what I am going to remember. Finals week of my second year, when I wrote a 16-page essay from front to back in a single night.

Or last semester, when I wrote two pages of an essay in 15 minutes, just barely sliding it into Canvas before the 5 p.m. deadline.

As exciting and noteworthy as those experiences were, there’s a smarter way to do things.

I’ve recently started procrastinating homework by doing other homework. I’m putting off writing a poem to finish this article and I put this article off by writing a different article.

I’m still being productive and responsible, but I get the same satisfaction I’d get from being lazy.

One time last semester, I started an assignment three weeks ahead of time. I was so proud of myself.

My preparation ended up costing me, though. One of my files got corrupted and I lost everything. Never again.

Sure, I probably would’ve lost all my work in a far more devastating fashion had I started that assignment the day it was due, but that was the first assignment I ever worked on more than a week ahead of time. Who am I to ignore a sign from the universe?

I’m a procrastinator. It’s who I am. If that’s who you are, maybe we should start accepting ourselves and stop trying to change.

I’d never condone procrastination. If you’re looking for excitement in your life, try skydiving or something less destructive than rolling the dice on your studies. A college education is too expensive to risk.

On the other hand, I wholeheartedly condone self-acceptance. If you’re like me, a bum who’s destined to graduate college the same way Indiana Jones made it under that door in “The Temple of Doom,” don’t fight it.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].