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Wellness

Embracing Procrastination: Tips From Someone Who Always Waits

I thrive on waiting until the last minute. 

If you’re reading the above statement and nodding your head, you know me well. Procrastination, in its truest form, means, “to put off intentionally and habitually.” To anyone with a deadline-filled life, this means waiting to complete a task until the last adrenaline-filled moment. 

Procrastination projects a strong negative aspect, when, in reality, people may complete their best work under the pressure of time. Some thrive off of procrastination, or as I prefer to call it, “waiting.” 

To me, waiting means waiting until the spark of motivation kicks in; it means holding off until I know I can give my full attention and best effort. My heart rate quickens, my organization improves and my thinking becomes increasingly coherent. The former cannot be said for everyone, but for the people who come alive while waiting for the last minute. 

Let’s take a moment and talk about those people who procrastinate out of anxiety. Procrastination can stem from scenarios such as worrying about failing a test and can often lead a person to push aside the task of studying. I often found myself in that exact situation. In order to curb the negative aspects of procrastination, I was able to teach myself mindfulness in the act of “waiting.” 

When Waiting, Start Early. 

Yes, I realize this is incredibly paradoxical. Let’s unpack this a little more. If there is a deadline that allows two weeks to work on a project, you will want to begin within the first week by planning. Something as easy as creating a spreadsheet with a list of ideas can relieve stress. Once those ideas are floating around on a page, you can return in a few days to create a more structured outline or timeline of the specifics. From there, you can estimate when you *actually* need to start. For example, if your workload allows you to fully start the project 48 hours before the deadline, it’s smooth sailing! 

Know Your Distractions

Whether it be the friends who love to talk or the phone that keeps ringing, pay close attention to what diverts your attention. You will want these out of the way once you start the task at hand. Otherwise, it will take longer to focus and will leave more room for increased stress levels.

If At First, You Don’t Succeed … And You Might Not

As a master procrastinator and a perfectionist, I give up if it isn’t right the first try. Not always, but my mind pulls me that direction. Realize that it is rarely perfect on the first try. If I feel myself becoming frustrated, I will take a break and come back to it when I feel ready. Don’t be afraid of taking a break, because oftentimes, you’ll come back with a new perspective. 

Reward Yourself Throughout The Process

Preparing for an event should not be a negative cognition! You have the opportunity to increase your knowledge and show off what you’ve learned. Be proud of what has been accomplished. I’ve often found that being proud of myself for the smallest achievements can increase my mood and help me to better enjoy what I am doing. Map out the larger checkpoints, and once those have passed, grab a coffee or take a five-minute phone break! 

You’ve got this!

Anna Birk

Ohio U '23

Anna Birk is a third year journalism news and information student at the E.W Scripps School of Journalism. Anna is a Promise Scholar, writer for HerCampus OU and Copy Editor for VARIANT Magazine. In her personal life, she is an avid lover of coffee, sustainable fashion and music. She loves learning new styling tips to help the environment and economy. Check out her Pinterest or Instagram (@annaebirk) or personal twitter account - @theannabirk!
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