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Our term paper was due in a month. The deadline was during the final examinations, and I didn’t want the term paper to hamper my preparations for the finals. So, I began one month earlier than the deadline. In our term paper, we have to write about an app or a website that we want to create.
I had tons of idea for the term paper. Based on the problems I faced in day-to-day activities, I had a list of apps that I thought would solve my problems. I started to write about an app which would help people reserve transaction time in a bank. I wrote a few lines, and then I stopped. I couldn’t go beyond the introduction paragraph. Frustrated with myself, I opened YouTube and started watching random videos. And, I didn’t go back to writing my term paper for the next three weeks. I procrastinated.
I am a procrastinator and I procrastinate in all the things that I do. But, it’s not just me, everyone procrastinates, although at varying levels. Some leave it to the last minute to complete their tasks while some leave it for the last few days. But, no matter at which level you procrastinate, it is always considered a bad habit.
And, why wouldn’t it be? How can delaying something important be considered good? Or is it? Maybe, we are missing an important factor. The question should not be if one procrastinates or not, but what does one do when one procrastinates?
People procrastinate for all sorts of reasons. Some people procrastinate because some other important tasks turn up while some people procrastinate because they are not interested in what they are doing. So they gravitate towards the things that they enjoy doing. I procrastinated with my term paper because I had not thought about my app in detail so I didn’t know what I had to write.
The app idea came to me when I was standing in a long queue in a bank. At that time, the app seemed a tempting idea, and I decided to write about it. But, I had not thought about the details- advantages, disadvantages. I had not even thought about how the app would work. I clearly needed to do more research.
And, that’s what I did in the three weeks. I researched about the app idea, I thought of all the things that could go wrong or go right. I even explored other possible ideas for the term paper. I talked with the seniors about their term papers. Although I wasn’t directly working on my term paper, it was lurking somewhere at the back of my mind.
As each day passed by, I gained more insights for my term paper. While reporting for DWIT News, I even got to interview a senior who had successfully completed his term paper project. This helped me learn how I could develop an app, and what programming languages I needed to learn.
So, at the end of the three weeks, I decided to write about an app which would help the users learn vocabulary from the lock screen. This time, I had more knowledge about what I was going to write. I knew how the app was going to work, why it would work, how I wanted it to look like, and what exactly I wanted the app to do. And, the term paper turned out to be a good one. It got a full score.
This got me thinking, maybe procrastination is not a bad thing as the people say it is. Procrastination, maybe at the highest level i.e. waiting until the last minute, is bad but a little bit of procrastination actually helps us improve our work. It gives a different perspective to the work that we are doing. It allows us to think in divergent ways, make our work more concise and maybe even help us come up with a better idea or a better solution. The quote by Aaron Sorkin rightly puts it, “You call it procrastination. I call it thinking.”
We all procrastinate. There’s no denying that. It is ingrained in human behavior. But, we should change our notion of procrastination and see it from a different angle. It can be a key to productivity and creativity. Procrastination is not as bad as we think it is.