The Fine Art of Procrastination

Last week my professor informed our class of a large assignment that would soon be due. I clearly recall her sternly warning us all, “Now don’t wait until the night before to start on this project because it’s going to take longer than that!”

Well, I took her words to heart. I followed her advice and didn’t wait until the night before to start like she advised. Unfortunately, I actually started even later than that… I started the morning it was due. And class starts at 9:50 AM!

Nevertheless, against all odds and despite her nay saying, I still got it done in time (submitted it online before class started). My final product was a seven page paper. We’ll see what grade I get. Nothing like running things down to the wire though to cause a little heartburn.

I guess it’s like my older brother Seth says, “If you wait until the last minute to do something, it only takes a minute to do.” When my Dad hears that, he likes to wryly remark, “And it only takes a minute to grade too.” We’ll see.

In my defense, I had been thinking about the assignment beforehand so some of the “brainwork” was already done.

But I wonder, why is it human nature (well, at least MY nature) to procrastinate? Why is time management so hard?

Photo Credit: Procastination Cat

UPDATE: July 27th

I just got my grade back on this paper. I received an A. I guess I pulled the wool over her eyes.

UPDATE #2: November 16th

Boundless had a relevant post here on procrastination: Craving Crisis

First day of Graduate School

Today I began my first day of class as a graduate student. I am currently enrolled in a “Master of Arts in Teaching” degree. Don’t ask.

As typical for the first day of any course the instructor started with an icebreaker activity. It went like this, each student was supposed to share two things. First, his teaching emphasis (English, Art, Science, etc) and second, something unique about himself.

Since I arrived to class ten minutes late I missed the responses of students with last names between A through L.

Yeah, I arrived late. Granted, it’s bad manners to arrive late, especially on the very first day. But what can I say? How am I supposed to have my alarm clock calibrated the first day? Besides, it was as I suspected, I didn’t miss anything important.

I digress, back to the icebreaker. When people are put on the spot one never knows what they will say. For her unique attribute, one girl suggested she was most likely the only person in the class who had double vision in both eyes. I figured she was probably right.

I sympathized with her as I too have double vision, just not in both eyes. In my case each eye registers one image but because my brain doesn’t overlap them correctly I end up seeing two images. Luckily for me I’m able to mentally push the “cut line” over toward my peripheral and thus just use one eye (single vision) on whatever I want to focus on. Wierd, huh?

But our instructor, an elderly woman named Judy, gushed in a shocked voice, “So you see two of me?”

Now, admittedly, I’m not the brightest bulb going but by my reckoning if someone had double vision in both eyes they would see four of everything, not two. To my relief the girl quickly corrected our teacher, “No, not two of you. I see eight of you.”

Somewhere deep in my subconscious a fuse blew. Wouldn’t that be two-eyed quadruple vision? And you’re sitting on the back row!? Maybe distance helped her get it all sorted out.

To substantiate her claim she added, “It’s been medically tested and proven.”

“I wonder how they test that,” I thought. I visualized her eye doctor holding up ten fingers and asking, “How many am I holding up?” Long pause. “Eighty?”

I was glad she was already off the road when I had been driving to class. Mental note to self, arriving late could save my life.

Then it was the turn of the thin young man to my left who was sporting an Abraham Lincoln-like beard. Settling back deep in his chair he started wagging out an interesting address,

     “Well, I have been told I have a fine balance between
      the right and left sided hemispheres of my brain.  I 
      believe this is collaborated by the evidence that I have
      an electrical engineering degree yet am also an amateur 
      painter and song-writer.  I also study philosophy.  In fact, 
      (here he chuckled quietly to himself) let me tell you that 
      as an undergraduate student my advisor had to pull me 
      out of several philosophy classes because I was taking 
      them too seriously.”  

Abruptly, he finished. My concrete-sequential-grey-matter struggled to decide which of the two ice-breaker questions he had answered. Probably the second. Was his unique attribute his brain? Well, one thing was unique: the linkage ‘twixt his brain and mouth.

Photo Credit: Q Anya