Thursday, March 13, 2008

Procrastination: Old Habits Die Hard

When I was in university, it didn't take long for me to realize that I was a first class, grade "A" procrastinator. No one I knew could procrastinate quite like I could.

Given the choice between writing a paper in advance or writing it at the last minute, I would actively avoid writing the paper until the last minute... Mind you, while I was procrastinating I was productive in every other area of my life.

My bed sheets would be clean, my laundry all folded neatly and put away, a pot of coffee would be brewing. I have entire pieces of art which sprung from avoiding essays:   Sketches and creative writing and roommates that went slightly insane living with me. I like to think of one of those roommates in particular as my finest "installation piece" ever!

In my last two years of University, I had the whole essay writing thing down to a science. I would set up at the kitchen table, spread out all my notes, my dinky little laptop (dinky now, then it was an amazing piece of equipment) and would start tapping away at the keys, starting at precisely 11pm the night before the paper was due.

Yes, my friends, I would write 2000 to 4000 word essays with an 18 hour time limit. I would work until 3am, crawl into bed wearing my faithful vintage longjohns, get up in the morning, finish the essay, edit it, print it, throw on my overalls over the now stinky longjohns (it was the '90s - grunge was in) and pass the whole thing in before 5pm.

This is not a practice that I would recommend to any university student, but it seemed that back then, I excelled at it:

I never scored lower than a A- on any of those papers.

I'm not sure if that says a lot for me or if it says something bad about the institution where I earned my degree. I like to think it is the former.

These papers, by the way, were all for the suspicious number of English literature classes I took while earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Go ahead, ask me how that BSc impacts my job today...

All this is to say that I have recently taken on the task of knitting a sample for a local knitwear designer.


And neither of these socks are that sample.*

*I am not leaving it to the 11th hour, I've got a fair-sized chunk of knitting done and I have until April 20th to complete the project.


  1. Ou - LOVING those socks! Both of them!

    Don't worry, you'll get the other stuff done - tomorrow :)

  2. I am completely there with you. I've been procrastinating with abandon lately -- about writing, about working on a freelance editing assignment. Actually, I've procrastinated to the point of being late on the latter item. So it goes.

    But, I am getting a lot of knitting under way, not finished, but underway.

    Love the socks!

  3. I have a major paper/presentation due in 2 weeks. I'll probably get started in 12 days. And I haven't scored less than an 95% on anything I've done at the college.

    I don't read my text either.

    Funny part? The instructors all see me as one the hardest working students and actually have higher expectations of me and my work. I often wonder if they knew my actual work habits if they'd still feel that way...

    I love that those socks are not a "pair"!

  4. Speaking of procrastination...did you ever pick a winner for that photo caption contest (and I missed the post), or has that been procrastinated into oblivion? (Not criticizing--If it has been procrastinated into oblivion, then it'll have quite a few of my around the house projects to keep it company.)

  5. I'm right there with you. I'm still horrible about it... Projects tend to get done on the day they're due for me too.

  6. Anonymous10:03 a.m.

    Can you come over and help me with my thesis? I've been putting it off for about 3 yrs. Hence the knitting, spinning, and bellydancing.
    p.s. I should actually be working on it right now.

  7. So, you were one of "those people" in school. I was the person who would start my projects weeks in advance and get the exact same grade as the night before crowd. I did, and still do avoid housework though.

    I got my assignment from above mentioned designer yesterday.

  8. I did this too. Only I'd stay up all night typing it. Yes, typing, it was the mid 80's and I didn't have a computer. Then I'd take a shower, on the theory that a shower would wake me up, and I'd go to school. I always got A's on those papers too. Astounding.

  9. OMG I was reading your university technique and thinking "Did I write this post?" until I came to the part where you pulled out the laptop (I was a late 80's student ... sadly, I pulled out the Smith Corona electric typwriter and hoped I had a good corrector tape ribbon in it and enough ribbon to last the 4000 word paper (cause were no all night office supplies stores in the 80s). For me, it was never time to start the paper until Magnum PI came on (at midnight)... most of my papers were for Lit classes too. I once did a paper on Moby Dick without ever reading the book , or going to class ... no cliff notes, no internets ... just a quick skim of the first and last chapters and a few of the middle ones, and I got the gyst of it. apparently, I was a little ballsy back in the day ... and a BS-er to boot!

    Did you ever skip the class that the paper was due in, turning up the for the last 5 minutes to turn in the paper, ink still wet ... oh, wait ... that WAS me! LOL!

    It is funny that so many of us procrastinated our way through university and did great ... I don't do all nighters anymore, but I still will wait to the absolute possible last second to do anything that freaks me out a little, or I'm not sure about. Its nice to know I am not the only one!

  10. I did the exact same thing for all of my papers in university. Well, except maybe the part about the longjohns.

    And those socks are love. Especially the one on the left. It is like candy! Candy stuck in a Lite-Brite!

  11. My house was never cleaner than when I had a paper to write or a project to finish. In fact, my desk at work is very clean now....

    Love the socks - esp. the striped one!