Confessions of a 20-Something Procrastinator

By Jordan McNeil

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a procrastinator. I hardly ever start projects or papers or studying for tests at any decent amount of time before deadline. I’m constantly pulling late nights the day or two before something is due to finish the work, or sometimes start it.

It’s OK; I’ve accepted it. It’s just part of who I am.

Though one question is always raised when I’m up at 3 a.m. writing the midterm paper I should’ve started weeks ago: “Why is this how I am?”

My go-to answer, of course, is simple. I’m lazy. I am a lazy person. The idea of working on an assignment that isn’t due for a week is less appealing than, say, sleeping, or playing Sims, or watching cute goat videos. I get enjoyment from just sprawling on my bed, doing absolutely nothing of importance. It’s a pretty relaxing feeling.

Until that due date rears its ugly head, and I’m reminded of all the work I’m supposed to be doing, I instead just aimlessly scroll through my Twitter feed. Then the panic sets in — I get that upset stomach feeling from nerves, paired with the doubts on a loop: “I’m never going to get this done in time. What was I thinking? I could just kick myself right now.”

I’m sent into a flurry of activity to throw together something that may resemble the assignment enough to get a decent grade. And I have done OK so far, which just leads me to continue the cycle. I mean, why not when there hasn’t been a large enough consequence for me to change?

Remember, I’m lazy. Change is work.

But here’s where another possible answer to the question of why I am a procrastinator comes into play. Maybe the reason why I haven’t experienced that dire consequence of waiting until the last minute to do work yet is because I actually work best with the pressure, with a deadline.

That is actually part of the reason I decided to go to grad school for my MFA — I noticed throughout my undergrad years that I had issues making myself write on my own. Any deadlines I’d set would be 100 percent negotiable because there would be no consequence; however, if a deadline is set by a professor, there’s a real consequence for not getting any writing done: failing the course.

Now, this still hasn’t stopped me from procrastinating, as I am halfway through this semester and still have yet to actively work on anything ahead of time. But I’m getting stuff written — you know, eventually.

Like I said, procrastination is part of who I am. It’s going to be a process to change, even a little bit.

A process that I’ll start tomorrow — maybe after a nap.