Column: Delaying is not a virtue
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 17:01
It has come to my attention that procrastination has become one of those forgivable, attractive-types of problems, like chocolate or caffeine addictions. When someone mentions having a problem with chronic procrastination, I’ve observed the most common responses to be “Oh my gosh, me too!” or “Yeah, but I bet you get your best work done that way.”
Katie Couric once said that procrastination helped her the most in her career because it helped her to work under pressure. I actually keep her words taped to my desk for those nights when I really, really should have started a project sometime that wasn’t, you know, the night before it was due.
I think there’s a difference, though, between procrastinating on your class project and procrastinating on a friend. I never thought I’d say this, but class projects can be forgiving. You may be one of those mystical half-unicorn types who is above sleep and can throw together an informative and attractive PowerPoint presentation an hour and a half before class.
As long as you have the file ready to go at 9:30 am, there’s no punishment. Professors and bosses (thankfully) don’t grade the amount of work you actually put into a project — just the amount of work it seems that you put in (I know so many of you are way better at that than you should be). Problems with people don’t have due dates, though. Time, to a certain extent, may not hurt your GPA, but waiting to address a problem with a person tends to hurt your relationship.
Take me, for example. I had a big problem with one of my friends that was really weighing down on me, but I was afraid of talking to him because I didn’t think anything good would come of our conversation. So I started to avoid him, but avoidance is hard to do at Loyola. I hit rock bottom when I was walking, saw him, and ducked into some bushes to avoid him.
Was he really that scary? We were friends, after all. I got out of the bushes (leaves in my hair and all) and informed him that I had to talk to him later. I’m not going to pretend that the conversation was wonderful, but when I was able to cut ten minutes off my travel time to class, I felt so much more at ease. Sometimes, people aren’t mystical half-unicorns. They’re just people who can reason and communicate — like you. So don’t procrastinate on people.
And don’t procrastinate on projects either (but really — Katie Couric said it was OK, so do with that what you’d like).
Kylee McInytre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org