Wednesday, December 13

Five Ways to Procrastinate. Or, How I Learned to Live with Mediocrity.

That fine line between procrastination and sheer denial? Crossed it. At least a hundred times in the past two weeks. And does it stop me from bitching and whining like a little girl about all the work I have to do? Nope. I still do that. It’s the charm of me.

I’m not sure how I caught the procrastination bug. As a youngster, I religiously obeyed the ‘never-put-off-until-tomorrow…’ mantra and in my first Real Adult Job, I rarely strayed from my workplans, getting my shit done in a fairly systematic manner. But that all went to hell a number of years ago, and is even more pronounced now in my life as a grad student. For some strange reason, I like to push the boundaries of all my deadlines—right to the very last second. It’s a bad habit that I don’t condone, but one I can’t seem to avoid. Really, it’s like crack: I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with knowing the clock is literally ticking and that project/paper/presentation just needs to get eff done already. Somehow, I convince myself this makes me more efficient. The inevitable remorse comes later—that moment when I hand in a paper and know (in fact, a little ashamed) that it's not my greatest work. Actually, it’s not even my tenth greatest work. And that can be a bitter truth to swallow—especially for a crazy perfectionist like myself. But can perfectionism and procrastination co-exist? Probably not. Which is why now, my third semester of grad school is the time when I’ve finally made peace with the fact that mediocrity is sometimes good enough. I mean, it’s my own darn fault for waiting until 48 hours before a deadline to start writing a 20 page research paper. Or two hours before a deadline to complete a twelve slide presentation. Whatever.

But really, what am I doing instead? Well kids, I’ve made procrastination into a friggin art form. Technically, its the internet which has better enabled me to develop greater procrastination techniques. The internet and television. And that combination has produced this how-to guide on how NOT to get your work done. cheers!

1. Web Reading. lots of it. there is always something more interesting to read (like: this or this) vs. starting a paper. often, i convince myself that what i'm reading is actually productive (as opposed to counter) since i'm addicted to the nerdy-liciousness of the Freakonomics blog or Malcolm Gladwell's insightful prose.. of course, there's also the less than academic sites that feed my personal obsessions, be it music or food or new restaurant openings (and closings) here in NYC. i gotta keep up-to-date...even while pushing a deadline.

2. Reviews and Reviewing. love reading reviews. of EVERYTHING. whether its movies or a new album. and reading user reviews always crack me up. people are so opinionated, i love it. and when i want to self-indulge in my own opinions [here's the blatant self-promotion!], i go and yelp. that's write (hee!). yelp. go there. be cool. and vote (positively of course) for my oh-so-fun reviews.

3 . Online Televison. as i had so many evening classes this semester (and often forgot to set my vcr) it was quite a blessing that so much tv can be watched online. i think i caught nearly every episode of Ugly Betty online. and asides tv, there's all the cool online videos-- and i'm not just talking youtube. want a good laugh? you MUST (MUST!) watch the webisodes of Late Night with Conan O'Brien's Pale Force. its an animated series featuring pale super-heroes Conan and Jim Gaffigan and their fleet of blindingly pale characters (e.g. Ron Howard; The White Stripes) battle those who seek to destroy their paleness. it is SO FUNNY. watch it. trust me.

4. Actual Television. it's really bad how addicted i am to television. sad but true. i can't help it! i love tv! whether its the Iron Chef America on the food network or a Top Chef marathon on Bravo or even better, some 'Totally Awesome...' specials on VH1, there's always something on!

5. Fantasy Vacation Planning. i'm not kidding. there are so many ways to fake-plan a vacation online and on tv. i love the travel channel. all of their shows give me great vacay ideas...assuming that one day i will have the time (and money) to take one. i adore globe trekker, and think Ian Wright is the coolest traveller around. and is it me, or does Samantha Brown have the BEST JOB in the world? me thinks, yes. how did she get so lucky?

thank goodness the semester is almost over. so i can stop procrastinating and instead find more websites/television shows to procrastinate on for NEXT semester. :)

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