18. Pressure Makes Diamonds

Right now, I should be writing a ten page research paper that I have not started. It’s due on Monday. So far, I completed the heading. Pathetic.

Instead, I’m blogging. Why? Because my entire life, I have been a procrastinator.

I have spent many nights (and wee hours of the morning) sweating bullets with each swipe of the keyboard, wondering if I would finish on time. Many energy drink companies owe their gross total profits to me. I checked Facebook and Twitter nine times in the past thirty minutes, even though I know that there are no new notifications or updates. What is wrong with me? I AM A MONSTER!

Just to waste more time, typically I’ll go through a never-ending procrastination guilt cycle, where I ask myself why I do this…Why do I wait until the last minute? Why do I give myself unnecessary stress when I could have easily began to work earlier? After each stressful assignment that I barely finish on time, I always make a vow to start my next project earlier. Unfortunately, it never happens.

A cartoon from my favorite blog, hyperboleandahalf.com

While the term “procrastinator” usually has a negative connotation, I think it works for me. After some reflection, I think I am someone who works best under pressure. Sometimes I need a little extra push, and each ticking of the clock provides that motivation for me.

In fact, I think that for creative work, sometimes procrastination can be beneficial. According to a post by Dustin Wax,

One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Occasionally, I need that time (or lack of time) to let my ideas run wild.

Instead of feeling guilty for my procrastination, perhaps I should accept my working style, and use it for my own benefit. To me, procrastination only presents a problem when someone does not complete their work. Although I may procrastinate, I have never missed a deadline or turned in a project late. There is a fine line between unproductive and procrastinating. As long as I get my work completed, I don’t see a problem with my procrastination model (except for the fact that I may die young from exponential amounts of stress…).

There’s a lot that you can miss in life if you only focus on your work. Like my friend Nick Sugai says, “Pressure makes diamonds”:

Drawing by Nick Sugai

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