The Art of Procrastination

Photo courtesy of Ryan Nisker.

University has taught me two things: that EDM has an enormous fan-base, and that at no point in time will you ever feel in control of your workload. No matter how meticulously planned your colour-coordinated study schedule is, university is a constant race against the clock. And while I find myself surrounded by colleagues that manage to maintain 3.8 GPAs, serve on countless exec boards, and hit the gym four times a week, it takes a special — nay, talented — person to master the art of procrastination. I am that person. Weird flex, I know, but allow me to elaborate.

Monday, 9:00 PM: I’m in bed binge-watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I hesitantly open my calendar and pretend to be surprised by the fact that I have a 1500-word essay on “The Effects of Colonialism on French-British Relations” due tomorrow at midnight. Though I’ve never truly been asleep before ten, I opt not to start the paper. Tonight, I will get my twelve hours, so that tomorrow I will be a vision of freshness and focus. Besides, 1500 words is only six pages double-spaced, which is actually only three pages.

Tuesday, 10:00 AM: I start at the library. I have gotten into the habit of locking my phone up in the charging stations on the first floor because I #knowmyself. Still, I will need my computer to do my work. I proceed to check my emails three times (personal, and McGill Outlook twice) and watch a YouTube compilation of dogs welcoming soldiers home. After wiping my tears, I think I’ve gotten all the distractions out of my system.

Though I’ve never truly been asleep before ten, I opt not to start the paper. Tonight, I will get my twelve hours, so that tomorrow I will be a vision of freshness and focus. Besides, 1500 words is only six pages double-spaced, which is actually only three pages.

10:31 AM: Even after turning on Self Control (the app), I open my sticky notes, rearrange my to-do list, and meticulously plan out my day, as well as my week. Even I realize the irony of wasting twenty minutes of my day planning out my day.

10:54 AM: I’ll start at 11.

11:01 AM: Finally, I’m ready to do what I came here to do, (cue Rihanna “This is What you Came For”). First, I type “how to write an essay in university” into Google, just to refresh my memory.

11:30 AM: Okay, I think I remember now. I put fingers to keyboard. I write one sentence; it doesn’t sound right. I open Thesaurus.com to jazz it up. There, much better. I write sentence two and the cycle repeats. I’m now in the zone, not even lifting my head to stare at the passers-by who dare come near my cubicle. Fingers are-a-flyin’, and I’m as committed to this paper as Khloé is to Tristan.

6:00 PM: I tell myself I deserve a break (I most certainly do not). I’m hungry and I can’t have coleslaw from Première Moisson for dinner again. I return home where the opportunities for procrastination abound. My essay is due in six hours.

6:15 PM: Upon returning home, I notice that the parade of shoes lining my front entrance are, in this moment, for the first time, quite bothersome. I take my time aligning them, categorizing them by type: flip flop, sneaker, platform boot and of course, the illusive non-platform boot. Things are really shaping up.

I tell myself I deserve a break (I most certainly do not). I’m hungry and I can’t have coleslaw from Première Moisson for dinner again.

6:21 PM: Now that my front entrance looks like the Louvre, I remember that my eight-hour stay at Hotel McClennan did not include food. I am famished and have not seen a vegetable in almost ten days. Tonight, I shall dine like the queen that I am.

7:00 PM: I prepare a small salad with the vegetables in the back of my fridge that appear to be rotting, pasta as my main, and Pillsbury cookies for dessert — the holiday edition, of course. I immerse myself in the culinary experience. While I could easily write and eat, I was raised with manners, so instead I watch Netflix.

7:22 PM: I’m done dinner and getting antsy — I need something to take my mind off the 900 unwritten words that desperately need my attention. I can’t leave the kitchen like this! I put on the soundtrack to A Star is Born and clean up, Cinderella-style. Dishes, countertops, even the floor, because although they haven’t been cleaned since — well, ever — I feel that this is the appropriate time to really make my place shine.

I immerse myself in the culinary experience. While I could easily write and eat, I was raised with manners, so instead I watch Netflix.

8:09 PM: Self-sabotage: I indulge in one more episode of Sabrina for no reason at all.

9:02 PM: The closing credits roll across my computer screen and I regrettably sneak a peek at the clock. It says 9:02 PM. Somehow, I am shocked by this. I text my friends a detailed listicle of why I am stressed.

9:10 PM: My eyes are closing, and a fifteen-minute shower is the only plausible cure for my fatigue.

9:30 PM: I can only work in a zen-yet-productive environment. I light a pumpkin-spice scented candle, brew a cup of peppermint tea, apply some lavender-scented “calming” lotion, and prepare a quick study snack.

9:39 PM: I have successfully wasted three-and-a-half hours of precious study time. The submission folder will close in just over two hours. I stare at my closed laptop and realize that the things we love most can still hurt us.

9:42 PM: I open up the document, three pages to go. If I get it right the first time, there’s no need for editing. I frantically begin, and as I do, I remember that I have two more essays due this week. I think tomorrow I’ll reward myself and take the day off.

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