Oct 032011
Authors: Libby Williams, Emily Kribs

Emily Kribs, freshman

It’s 10:40 a.m. on a Saturday and up until two minutes ago I was doing a decent impression of being dead.  If I hadn’t been shooting upright every 10 minutes to slam the snooze button, I’m sure my roommate would have fallen for it.

I’ll be the first to admit that getting up at 11 a.m. is hardly sleeping the day away, but this column is due at noon.  Plus, I would have gotten up earlier if I hadn’t put off getting tickets to the Homecoming game ‘til the last minute, and consequently failed.

It’s fair to say that I, like many, have a problem with procrastinating.

Sometimes it’s an art, and I’m trying to perfect it.  Those are the days when I arrive at my classroom right when the lesson starts, with a standard deviation of about 40 seconds in either direction.

Sometimes it’s a joke, like when I have plans with friends.  “I’ll be there in 20 minutes,” I tell them.  “So I guess you should expect me in 30.”  I’ve even had friends tell me I had to be somewhere 10 minutes earlier than necessary so I’d be punctual, albeit by accident.

And sometimes it’s just a problem, like when I have to cut my geography lecture to write a paper due in two hours.

I’ll reiterate that this condition is not mine alone to endure.  A brief Google search — I mean, structured and professional poll with triple-checked results — tells me 20 percent of people procrastinate.  That number astounds me; I could have sworn it was more than that.

I’m inclined to diagnose procrastination as a symptom of the immediacy we’ve come to expect in our lives.  Why meet friends for a movie in a half hour when I have infinite forms of entertainment right here and now?  Why would I sink any time into something as boring as homework when I could be doing something interesting like… reading about seawalls on Wikipedia?

Maybe my logic was flawed; manmade protection from ocean tides isn’t exactly captivating.  And yet I’ll find that even dinner can wait until I’m done.  Admittedly, dorm food doesn’t haunt one’s every waking moment with its tempting, tasteless allure, but you’d think it would at least take priority over doodling noses on the margin of my Spanish workbook.

Maybe I procrastinate out of laziness, or after 18 years it could even be a habit.  All I can really say for certain is this column is now an unfortunate, but predictable 45 minutes late.


Libby WIlliams, senior

Maybe procrastination doesn’t seem like too big of a problem now, but wait until the classwork starts piling up. Even a late column will catch up with your seemingly busy college schedule.

The only way to remedy this: learn to prioritize.

In high school, prioritizing wasn’t a priority. I mean, you did have to set your alarm, wake up and decide whether the day deserved a shower, but even at that, mommy still probably nudged you awake every morning.

Everything was laid out for you. Wake up, go to school, go to the same classes at the same times, go to lunch, go to more of the same classes, go home, do homework and maybe meet friends at Sonic for a frozen treat … if your parents allowed you.

But now it’s a whole new world. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it. If you decide to sleep until 11 a.m., you can. If you want to ditch class to have lunch early, go for it. You could even totally forget about classes and head to the mountains for a week. In college, that stuff is not off limits.

But if you want to work on procrastination problems, you’ve got to learn to prioritize for yourself. Yes, I sound like the mother who prioritized your high school life, but it is important. You may have heard this in your economics lesson, but it’s all about opportunity costs.

For example, you decide that you want to read about seawalls on Wikipedia rather than doing your homework? First off, I don’t blame you. I prefer funnyordie.com to homework any day. But when you stop thinking about the immediate effects, the cost of not doing your homework becomes apparent.

If you don’t do homework, you score a zero. If you don’t do homework once, you probably won’t do it again, and you’ll get more zeros. The more zeros you get, the lower your grade becomes, maybe even to the point of failing. If you fail, you’ve just wasted a whole lot of money that your parents saved to put you through college.

So what is more important to you? Your parents’ money, or randomly surfing the web?

I’m no saint. I’ll admit to having symptoms of a procrastinator. I’ve just learned the art of guilt-tripping myself into getting something done at a reasonable time.

I didn’t really feel like getting up today to write a column about time management. But if I didn’t get out of bed, I’d feel guilty for having missed class and neglected potentially important lectures.

And this way, I’m avoiding the guilt of possibly turning in a column 45 minutes late.

 Posted by at 3:26 pm

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