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Procrastination and Destination

September 28, 2009
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Have you ever had a plan that you didn’t follow through on? I don’t necessarily mean a big plan – it could just be planning to clean the house. Or planning to eat better, or even planning to find a new job. Planning it, but not really doing it.

I actually do this all the time. Ever since high school I have been a notorious procrastinator. And I’m realizing that I do it for a lot of reasons beyond the cliché, “I’ll just do it tomorrow” mindset.

Sometimes I never really intend to follow through on a plan, it’s just something I’m day-dreaming about. Like writing, producing and directing a movie. It would be cool, but I will probably never decide to do what it takes to actually get it done. It is just fun to imagine that I might do it someday.

Another procrastination technique I have is to never bring the idea far enough into the realm of reality to figure out what action needs to be taken. Like how I need to lose like 50 pounds, and I want to do it, but I’m not sure where to start. I keep thinking, “When I figure out a plan for how to lose the weight, I’ll get it done.”

I’ve also become very deadline-driven since college. Now this might sound like a good thing, but it has one BIG drawback. When you are deadline-driven in the manner I have become, everything without a deadline somehow floats to the bottom of your priority list and often doesn’t get done.

This is what happens to my messy apartment and my dirty laundry. There will be no immediate repercussions if it isn’t taken care of…so it doesn’t get taken care of immediately. Eventually I do it…but I take way longer to deal with it than I should.

Sometimes the thing I’m putting off is a combination of these things. Like going to graduate school. Ever since I was a junior in college I thought I’d go to graduate school. Almost like if I just thought it was going to happen it magically would. Plus, I didn’t want to go for at least five years, so I didn’t think I needed to do anything about it immediately.

I mean, sure, I needed to decide what I would study, and where to go and put in applications and everything, but five years is a long time, right? It got pushed to the bottom of my “to do” list, and kind of became this thing I just daydreamed about. That pushed the idea far enough out of reality that I never really formulated a plan to make it happen.

Then, all of a sudden it was four years later and I realized that it takes about a year to get into graduate school. So, if I were going to follow-through with the five-year thing I had better get started.

I’ve done a few small things since then. I talked to some of my former professors, researched a few schools online and looked into a few programs. But, until this weekend, I really hadn’t done anything very solid; nothing to really bring the graduate school idea to fruition.

Then, Saturday, my dad sold my Cavalier and I suddenly had $400 in my pocket. The money became fuel for my future. I used most of it to pay down a credit card (so that I can eventually afford to move wherever I decide to go to graduate school), and I used $20 to buy flash cards to study for the GRE.

What’s more, I actually studied on Saturday and Sunday.

I’m actually going to do this! I might just freak out about it. Furthermore, I started with the vocabulary cards and I actually knew almost all of the words.

Who knows what abate means? I do!

So I’ve been procrastinating to the point that I probably won’t hit my 5-year mark (especially since I will probably have to live in the same state as my graduate school for at least a year before I can start school), but it looks like I will make it to this destination, despite my procrastination.

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