Akika says: Procrastination

By Geisha Bar

Recently when I was procrastinating an assignment, I hilariously found myself reading articles about procrastination – in the name of desperately trying to find a way to stop procrastinating. Ridiculous, right? But then I stumbled upon a very clever 3-part blog post on procrastination by a dude named Tim Urban, and it made so much sense to me that I have begun to get a handle on my own procrastination a little more – and I’m going to sum it up for you now. Urban suggests that the reason why procrastinators are unable to begin a project with months of time ahead of them, yet can smash out a thesis in three days, is because all procrastinators have both an Instant Gratification Monkey and a Panic Monster lurking within them.

In an ideal world, we would be the captain of our own ship – with a firm grasp on the wheel, steering us through untroubled seas. However, when procrastinators have something we need to get done, the Instant Gratification Monkey starts trying to grab the wheel. At this point you are being steered by both yourself and the monkey – and this sends you into a place called the Dark Playground. The Dark Playground is a place where you aren’t doing the boring thing that you are procrastinating, but you aren’t really having any fun either – because you haven’t earned the fun. The Dark Playground is where you either escape into passive entertainment where you can switch off your brain, or you end up doing “busy” things that aren’t urgent, such as finally cleaning out your kitchen cupboards – both of which involve you trying to assuage your guilt at procrastinating.

The only thing which scares the Instant Gratification Monkey is the Panic Monster – which appears pretty much at the eleventh hour, when we are about to hit that point of no return on whatever we need to get done. When the Panic Monster awakens, the Instant Gratification Monkey scampers away in fear, so now the Panic Monster is the one in charge of the wheel – and he’s like a bag of coke at a bush doof, so you end up getting your work done. This is absolutely fine if what you usually procrastinate is a straightforward task like vacuuming the house before guests arrive – you can’t really fuck that up, even with a rushed job. But when it comes to things like work projects, uni assignments and creative pursuits, then whenever the Panic Monster gets your shit done for you, you will always feel bummed because you know that what you submitted isn’t to the standard that you are capable of. This is difficult for the likes of people who want to attain good GPAs, yet end up handing in essays 1000 words under the word count, just because they are so overwhelmed fighting the Instant Gratification Monkey and need to get that essay the fuck out of their house, like, yesterday (in order to feel the rush of relief at not having to think about it anymore).

So how does knowing all of this help? It may not help you at all. But now whenever I have something due, I think hard about whether I want to hang out in the Dark Playground, or the Real Playground (where I actually have fun) after getting shit done – and thus have stopped procrastinating as much.

Love, Akika