Ask anyone I went to high school with, they’d probably tell you I was some sort of genius. I assure you that couldn’t be further from the truth. The difference between me and everyone else was I procrastinated, but they didn’t do. Despite my inability to study, or do homework as soon as I got home, I still did most of the assignments I was given. My secret weapon was the pressure of needing to get things done.
One of my top strengths is achiever, if I don’t get something accomplished it begins to bog me down. No matter how much I hate an assignment, or how many assignments I have to do, the pressure to get them done will eat me alive if I don’t. This creates a difficult cycle for me to overcome. After spending a day at classes, the last thing I want to do when I get back to my room is homework. So I try to goof off, watching Netflix, which is really hard when you’re stressed about homework. I ultimately spend most of my day listening to music and staring at my ceiling, or off visiting friends. In the back of my head I’m dreading doing homework, so I keep finding excuses not to do it. When I finally go to do something, I’m making endless lists in my head of what else I have to get done. I don’t ultimately get a whole lot done. Between 9 and midnight I start evaluating what has to be done for the next day, and I somehow manage to get those things done. Meanwhile the list of things that I’ve put off grows, adding more pressure the next day to get both the old and new assignments done. The added anxiety the next day makes it even harder to start anything.
Most people would view this as a weakness, but I’d say it can be my strength. Currently I’m really far behind in most every class, but I spend a majority of my day sitting around doing nothing. Between 9 and midnight I can finally bring it together, and in that time I focus on the one or two things that I absolutely have to do for the next day. I refuse to get less than 6 hours of sleep, so around 1 or 2am I’ll call it a night regardless of the situation. The pressure of what has to get done, gives a natural priority to my assignments. On top of that, in the time I’m sitting around, while I do some stressing, I’m also doing a lot of thinking. I’ve had some of my most creative moments while spacing out. Somehow the chaos gives order to my to-do list.
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One theme I’ve recognized in the links for this topic is that trying to white knuckle through all the work is ultimately counterproductive. Taking breaks, clearing your head, and doing things one at a time helps you to be more productive. I found this to be true, the most productive I’ve ever been in college was working in the union. I could pop in my headphone and read a chapter, then take a break to talk to a friend working there. I used soundtracks to block other people out, but then I could socialize with people to take a break. To me this method resembles procrastinating, in that you don’t just dive right in and do everything. You clear your head, do some work, take a break to clear your head, and do some more work. The way I procrastinate, it’s like I take my breaks at the beginning of the project to clear my head, and then the anxiety to do a particular item forces me to focus on it and get it done.
I think that being a slacker, and being productive has kind of been the same for me. I take my time before I start, I clear my head, I get inspired, think about what I’m going to say or do, and then I do it. While it appears that I’ve waited until the last moment, the thought put into it throughout the process makes it easier. When the pressure gets to be too much I picture myself as the slacker king, a brave warrior. I fight the good fight, and I take down the obstacles in my way. This gets me psyched up, and then I go kick my homework’s butt.
Everyone has their condition to get stuff done, there is no right or wrong way to be productive. Ultimately it comes down to what works best for you. For me it’s to slack off and clear my head, then pick up my weapon and fight off the school work. The mighty slacker king shall not be defeated so easily by the evil programming textbook. Now you just have to ask yourself, are you going to be defeated?