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Walla Walla, WA
Friday, December 8, 2023

Procrastination is good

February 2, 2023
Tammy Quackenbush

Originally Published February 22, 1996

Tammy Quackenbush

I almost always wait until the last minute to do anything. A professor will give me three weeks to finish a take-home exam, one I know will be difficult, and I won't even look at it seriously until the night before it's due. Many people believe procrastinators, like myself, are lazy or stupid. I don't believe it's that simple. I don't ignore deadlines, dead-lines are important. I'm aspiring to a profession that lives on daily, even hourly, deadlines. I feel guilty when I miss them for whatever reason, because I believe they are important. For some people, procrastination might be a sign they don't enjoy what they do. For others, procrastination is a symptom of low self-esteem: their mind repeatedly tells them that they are failures, which freezes their creative process. They are afraid to be creative. For me, procrastination is my mind’s way of buying time to sort out my ideas. I give my mind plenty of time to think out an idea to its fullest.  

As a journalist, my brand of procrastination process might be considered unique. During my “procrastination" period, I do a lot of preliminary research, whether that's a trip to the library or catching up on my reading assignments before I start writing an article. Or I keep a journal by my bed to write down any witty observations or dreams. Sometimes, I do "busy work" like reorganizing my CD case, talking to friends on the phone, or surfing the net so if someone sees me, I will look like am doing something productive and no one will have an excuse to call me lazy. I might rent a movie, like Desperado, to help my mind temporarily escape from the burden of the dreaded deadline. Escape by chemical methods, never an option. I try to give my brain the information and time it needs to ultimate finish my task, whether it's a commercial art assignment or a criminology take-home test. 

In the end, I've accomplished my task, brilliantly and on time. 

Procrastination doesn't stress me out because I realize its place in my creative process. It doesn't mean I am stupid or lazy, it just means that my best ideas wait until the last minute to make an appearance. 

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