The Cougar Chronicle

“I’ll Do It Later” Mentality Improves Work Output

Cedric Lansangan, Opinion Writer

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Procrastination.

 

A quick internet search for this common practice defines it as the action of delaying or postponing something.

 

“I can do this later.”

 

“There’s still plenty of time!”

 

“I have the whole semester to get this done, I can put it off for now.”

 

All of these excuses to procrastinate on big (and even small) assignments and projects can inevitably lead to high degrees of pull-out-your-hair stress and subpar work. But is procrastination always such a bad thing?

 

The saying that Cs get degrees is true. That being said, it is also true that any reasonable CSUSM student wants that feeling of satisfaction from seeing an “A” or even a “B” as their final letter grade for a course at the end of the semester.

 

So what does it take to reach either of those two letter grades? A lot of work, usually.

 

The way I see it, it can be the dread associated with that level of work that leads to procrastination, despite an initial desire to do well at the beginning of a semester.

 

But up until now, I’ve done a disservice here to the large portion of students worldwide who do procrastinate: Deep down, you are shooting for that A or B.

 

Procrastination for you is simply a part of the process.

 

Yes, it may mean sleepless nights. Perhaps some hair-pulling. Maybe some blood, sweat and tears. Add in a dash of mental breakdowns and a sprig or two of depression for good measure.

 

For you, procrastination is part of your own personal process to get that A or B.

 

You need that thrill of submitting that term paper with minutes (or perhaps seconds) to spare. You need that nagging voice in your head reminding you that you can’t put this off anymore. You need that last-minute rush to get that group project or presentation done.

 

I could go on and on, but the bottomline is this: procrastination motivates.

 

Yes, it stresses us out unnecessarily. Yes, it can mean one team member taking the reins on a group project. Yes, it can deprive us of sleep and time for social/personal activities.

 

But if done right, with just enough time to spare and assuming no catastrophic last-minute issues technology-or-resources-wise, working with and through procrastination can drive us to do our very best right when doing so matters the very most.

 

On one of the latter points above, however, the one about catastrophic disaster/failure, I must double back on here. For all it’s good, procrastination is still nonetheless a double-edged sword.

Murphy’s’ Law is a fictional “rule” with several variations, all of which more or less state that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

 

I, and I’m sure many other people, have experienced the heartwrenching realization that some part or resource critical to finishing something I’ve procrastinated on isn’t working right (or breaks or isn’t enough to finish what I’m doing) when I need it to. This is Murphy’s’ Law in action. It sucks.

 

Want a real-life example? A term paper I worked on and finished last-minute for a Rhetoric and Writing Studies course back during my undergraduate degree years couldn’t be printed on-time because the power to my house got cut off by some pranking punks. Right when I needed everything to be working properly. Suffice it to say I cried.

 

Long story short: It’s okay to let procrastination be what motivates you to push through that all-nighter. Let it force you and your grade for whatever course you’re taking to sink or swim.

 

If that’s your process, more power to you.

 

But don’t expect to always be able to make it back to the water’s surface in time every time you do.

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