Boy one of these is long overdue isn’t it? I haven’t had a chance to sit down and just think through things in a while. First the holidays, then the new year and the start of spring semester….Sheesh. It’s lead to a hectic mess of my schedule that’s for sure. This post is going to be shorter than usual, for several reasons…but I wanted to take the time to discuss procrastination and exhaustion. Two things that are very different in definition, but can cause similar problems.
When I was younger, I was a hardcore procrastinator.
It’s true. An attention deficit hyperactive child has way more important things going on in their mind than doing homework or chores. Fighting dragons, rescuing friends, discovering new artifacts! Those were far more important tasks than two plus two.
Unfortunately my teachers didn’t see it that way. Neither did my parents. I got in some hecking trouble and my grades suffered a lot thanks to missed assignments. Of course I had a lot going on in my life throughout elementary, middle, and definitely high school, but I can’t help thinking back on it sometimes.
What’s funny is that my sister is what reminded me the most of my bad habit.
She likes to leave homework to the laaaast minute, and part of it is because mom’s gotten her used to that in her own sense. Not on purpose, mind you, but she definitely doesn’t sit my baby sis down first thing to do homework after school. As a result, now my baby sis does everything in her power not to do homework if mom’s not paying attention.
One night, my mom was too sick to sit down with my sis and help her do her homework, so it fell to me to walk her through. Reading over her homework, I thought it was ridiculously easy, even for a kindergartner. Most of it had to do with spelling, and then a little ‘story-writing’. My sister played me for a fool, being difficult about even sounding words out.
My mother eventually came out anyways to help because I got in an argument with my sister. It was over an hour into her assignment and we’d barely gotten past the first sentence. I think then, I had a taste for what my mom went through raising me through this stage. Sheesh.
Nowadays, I find procrastination a terrible temptation, but not as much as sleep.
You know what I’m talking about college students. You’re assigned a reading task, maybe a discussion to go with it. You say to yourself “Psh, this is easy, I can take care of some other stuff first.” or “I can wait until day before.” I’ve certainly had days like that. I also know how wrong I can be.
While I am a high achieving student now (3.6 GPA and climbing!) I still occasionally fall into that cozy trap of self confidence and just general laziness. I mean, who wants to sit there and read twenty pages of a textbook? That takes fooooreeeeveeeer!
But nowadays, there is a much greater threat. Sleep. I now run a blog, I write on social media, apply for internships, visit markets, meet sellers, do homework, go to class, drive hours to go to college, and work a part time job. I do a lot! So by the time I get home, usually later in the afternoon, if not the evening, I’m so worn out all I want to do is sleep! More than once I’ve ignored my books and online reading in exchange for a soft pillow and a blanket. I’ll also admit to leaving my alarms off just to sleep in whenever I’m off, instead of taking advantage of a decent morning start. Eugh.
Curse you, comfy pillows!
It feels so good though, to be lazy and sleepy. It’s just as addictive as procrastination, even if brought about by exhaustion.
Luckily I’ve learned some tricks to help me through that muddy phase of thinking and tiredness:
- Turn on some music. It’s helped me concentrate countless times, and soothes bad moods. (I personally prefer acoustic, indie, or classical music.)
- Take a break. I know I know, ‘Whaaat? I thought the point was NOT to procrastinate!’ what I mean by take a break is not to burn yourself out. Sometimes we spend a really long time reading or writing, and we stop seeing our mistakes. We start to get frustrated. Taking a break helps me take a step back, breathe, and return to focus.
- Have a snack. For me, having something to munch on while doing my homework, or after a rather busy set of hours helps me focus and re-energizes me for the next step.
- Talk to someone. Now this can be dangerous, but its helpful more often than not. Talking helps you see viewpoints you might’ve missed on your own, and relieves stress. Just make sure you don’t spend all day chatting with your friends.
- Start early. Seriously. Do it. Don’t wait till that last day. When you’re given that assignment, you start it. Even if it’s just piece by piece. You gotta do it.
So where does this all leave me now?
Honestly, I doubt I’ll ever be the robot that can say she never procrastinates. I’m human, you’re human, we’re all humans and knowing that makes it easier to prepare backup plans. I always write reminders for myself now, and I plan for group errors and fallbacks. (Other people procrastinating can put a damper on your grades and work life too ya know.)
But I realize, as long as I don’t let procrastination be an excuse for myself, I’ll be just fine. Too many people dream up excuses for why they didn’t do things, I own up to my mistakes.
Like tonight. In truth, I have been working on writing and special things on and off during the past week, but thanks to a mixture of exhaustion, a hectic schedule and procrastination, I didn’t get them done. I was just too busy, then tired and when I wasn’t busy, I got distracted. Whoops.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I do, I feel so strongly about this that I stayed up way past a healthy time for sleep just to get this out to you guys because gosh darn it, I will keep to my posting schedule no matter how sick I feel. And thus, this memoir was born.
Well, what now?
Now? I buckle down and get through this semester doing the best I can. I encourage you to do the same, whether you’re running a marathon, climbing that corporate ladder, or just doing homework. Make sure you’re pushing yourself to be the best you can be.
And don’t hate yourself too much for procrastinating. All of us have been guilty of it at some point or another. Just make sure you’re recognizing it for what it is and making an effort. A mistake is only a mistake when no lessons are learned, after all.
That’s all I have for tonight, take care, be good to one another and remember to stay curious!
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