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Why do I Procrastinate?


Procrastination – we’re all guilty of it. Don’t deny it. Maybe you’re shaking your head in response to this, and saying “but I’m organised!” But “organised law student” is an oxymoron, and you are probably in denial.

The other day I sat down and gave myself that familiar pep talk I give myself at the start of each semester outlining my academic objectives that I will (at the time) undoubtedly achieve! Yes, that one. The one that goes a little something like this: “I will go to all of my lectures and tutes! I will do all of my tute-work beforehand! I will complete all of my assignments at least two days before! And, above all, I will not procrastinate.”

GOOD JOKE.

By the time my first assignments are due, I’m too busy catching up on neglected assessments to do any work for class. Assignments are handed in ‘early’ (ie. with 20 seconds to spare), and procrastination completely takes over: five minutes of study = one hour on Facebook.

By week 7 my new objective is SURVIVE. I think “coffee”, “screwed” and “all-nighters” sum this time-period up adequately.

Anyway, as I gave myself “the talk”, I thought I’d attempt to pinpoint the reason why I actually procrastinate. So, I took a deep breath and asked myself: why do you procrastinate?

I admit I was surprised when my brain could not produce a single decent reason as to why I do it. The only thing that sprang to mind was, “because I don’t want to study right now.” Either that or I am a colossal masochist.

I sat for a moment and basked in my own idiocy.

I actually could not justify my actions. Why WOULDN’T I want to study right away? The amount of problems that could be fixed simply by studying or completing assessment in regular increments like a normal person, instead of pulling week-long stress sessions is a much less-painful, and productive alternative. More sleep, better grades, and less stress—I’d have to be crazy to compromise that, right?

Maybe I’m just going about this the wrong way. The bottom line is, procrastination is inescapable. Perhaps we should just embrace it and the last-minute super-powers it gives us (such as the ability to quickly memorise page upon page of information). The ability to cope with lack of sleep and gargantuan amounts of stress we endure as a result of our “habit” are practically life skills, right? Maybe procrastination isn’t all bad!

…Oh man, I really am the one in denial after all.

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