The Art of Procrastination — You may delay, but time will not!

Hello! I am Manav Begani, and I also happen to be an engineering student. Before you roll your eyes, let me quickly tell you why I am here. This world is a marvel, and I am curious to a fault. At the end of each day, I am left with a bazillion thoughts and ideas which often go unshared. It is not always possible to find a pair of ears, right? I have thus decided to write them down. If you are a curious cat yourself, join me in my journey which we commence now.

The practice of studying a night before the examination has been a common practice among the students and well engineers are known for it. But I genuinely never liked this idea, on a personal level I would say I am a person who would not keep any work till the end. But the concept of procrastinating has been a common thing amongst the youth these days and seeing someone on-time has become an old school tradition in their vision.

Recently, I was having a conversation about my final year project with one of my colleagues and this topic came up somewhere in the middle of our conversation. My colleague says, “I am assured that we would complete the work in time because we have you.” To which I replied “If all of us work that way, we would never face the problem of meeting the deadline and carrying unnecessary stress” but what he said next got me thinking why does one procrastinate?

So, I looked up to someone who would answer my questions, obviously it was Google! According to the dictionary the definition of Procrastination is that it is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. But when I read through various articles, I came to know this problem has been there since the ancient times Socrates and Aristotle called it as Akrasia- is the state of acting against your better judgment. So, in this case completing your task is a better judgement but instead we choose the other part of ignoring it. This was just the definition, but the real question was Why?

According to the psychologists, the Parkinson’s law is one of the reasons (Not the Parkinson disease buddy). Our mind tends to expand the work to fill in the time. Like, if you have 5 days to complete an assignment you would take 2 days to find the right book, the next 2 days to find the solutions to the questions and the final deadline day to write and submit. (Let us not wait for that one person to share the solution at least :P). Now, if you sit and think you would know that you could do that assignment in just 2/3 days, by just letting your mind think you just have 3 days to complete the work and not 5. This works out well and is not just a theory.

Now coming to what my colleague said during our conversation, he said” I like to work as the deadline approaches, because it gives me a motivation to complete my task and I’d rather make amendments in the end to make my project even better.” This was the time when I thought it is not the laziness or the unwillingness to do the assigned task that makes us procrastinate but it is the fear of not meeting the expectations that keeps us away from doing the work, and instead of combating with this fear we tend to avoid it by watching content on OTT or just simply scrolling through Instagram with absolutely no reason to scroll.

This might still not ring a bell in your head, and you would now start to deceive your mind that OTT and Instagram make you feel stress free, and the silly mind agrees. But these small projects prepare you for the future, look at it in this way that you have two side in you a present side and a future side. The future side sets goals that you wish to achieve (like losing weight, investing money in 20’s or 30’s for retirement etc.) so to achieve these goals you need to activate your present side to start working. But, when you try to decide (which is in the present) for the present side to perform the necessary action, your present side starts to think about instant results. This makes you forget about the goals, and you start procrastinating. Now, since it is capable of manipulating your thoughts and emotions, I call it an “Art”.

Think for yourself if this art is worth the value you have given it?

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