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Revealed: secrets of a fellow procrastinator

 

Ever notice how you never see superheroes procrastinate? I mean, you’ve probably never heard Batman say, “Only minutes to save Gotham from nuclear destruction? Sounds urgent… but I wonder what’s in the fridge….” I’ve always thought that if movie directors really wanted to make a hero to whom audiences could relate, they’d have one who procrastinates all the time. His name would be something mundane like “Steve, the Average Joe,” and he’d have 24 hours to save the world, but spend the first 23-and-a-half shut up in his bedroom, eating junk food and watching reruns of Friends.

As you may have gathered, the purpose of this article is to teach you how to end your difficulties with procrastination (or as I like to call it, “extreme time management”). But why should you take advice from me, a self-admitted procrastinator? Because I alone have plunged into the deepest pits of laziness, taken dilly-dallying to extents you couldn’t imagine and lived to tell the tale. I’ve been told, “Just get a planner, and stay organized!” as many times as you have, and I understand that it will take more than a couple of binder reminders to save people like you and me. I can teach you to master the monster that is procrastination, to take charge of your own life—that is, if you’re brave enough to try.

You’ve surely heard the saying, “no pain, no gain.” I’ll tell you now that I take those words very literally. My first method of reducing procrastination involves placing yourself in dangerous/potentially life-threatening situations that can only be escaped by completing whatever assignment you’re putting off—be it sitting in an enclosed tank that gradually fills with water until you solve 15 geometry problems, or being pinned down beneath a slowly descending chainsaw that will stop for nothing but an in-depth analysis of how the US economy was affected by World War II, written in complete sentences and using examples from the text. Nothing is quite so motivating as the threat of serious physical injury, wouldn’t you say? Before trying this productivity-enhancing technique, make sure you have a trustworthy friend to assist you (though a mortal enemy may be more willing).

My second method utilizes what is commonly known as classical conditioning. You’ll need to select two food items—one to serve as an incentive and another for punishment. In my case I used Starburst candies and peanuts, to which I’m allergic. Over the course of a few months, every time I completed a project I’d reward myself with a piece of candy, and whenever I put off an assignment to do something like watch television, I’d pop a peanut in my mouth (normally followed by several Benadryls).

By doing this repeatedly, my mind formed a link between the negative behavior (procrastinating) and a negative effect (swollen face and trip to the hospital) while also being taught to associate productivity with a delicious explosion of fruity Starburst flavor. After a certain period I began to lose the ability to distinguish what was causing what, to the point where I could hardly say the words “I’ll do it later” without breaking into hives. Now having followed this method myself for the past semester, I can honestly say that homework has never tasted so good.

Anyone can stop procrastinating; the trick is doing it now. I hope reading this has helped make you a more productive person.

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