Saturday, July 7, 2012

About Procrastination

Today I wish to discuss alarming people. To begin, I was walking to my car the other day, and without much paying attention, a bicyclist was headed in my direction with his head down, and just as he was about to pass me, he lifted his head, and I had a brief heart stopping moment. But more about that later. 

(I'm going to try to see if I can hold your attention until the end, as I have much to talk about today) 

So, I remember at one time just a few years ago, (a time when I got up early, made myself dinner, and headed to work to stand in front of the time clock, and wait for 10:52pm to arrive, so I could punch in early, as that was the earliest it would allow you to clock in) But more on all of that later. So back to the sentence I just finished, but the start of that sentence; I once thought it appalling to cook a frozen TV dinner meal in the microwave! I mean how could a microwave do justice to this lovely pre-made delectable dinner I wanted to eat. I am embarrassed now to think that I used to not only get up early, but that I got up early enough to bake my frozen dinner in the oven! Then somewhere along the way, I didn't quite make the leap to embracing cooking my meal in the microwave; but instead, I took the next logical step which was to realize I could sleep later, should I decide to eat a granola bar in the car on the way to work; and so began sleeping later. Then I discovered breakfast "shakes," if placing it in a sealed cup and shaking it is what defines it as a shake. So I went about preparing these before I headed out the door and drinking it in the car on the way to work, and sometimes I delighted my early morning, (late evening) taste buds, by complimenting the shake with a granola bar, (or milano cookies, whichever came first). 
I don't know when exactly the change occurred where I no longer found myself at the time clock waiting for the 10:52 hour, but I remember I more often arrived just on time; at the 11pm hour. I was pleased with this. 
I don't quite recall what the next step was to my fall from being a prompt on time person, but I think it happened somewhere between my junior and senior year of college, which for me was my 10th year of on and off again college. I recall how it became quite obvious to me that you could put in a great deal of time and preparation into preparing for a test or putting together a paper, and the outcome could not be 100% guaranteed to result in an A, or even a B. Perhaps the transition into procrastination took place one semester where I worked diligently on a group paper, I took much more time to do my section of the paper, I carefully edited and rewrote sections of the other participants sections, I stayed up all night the final night, feeling so right about the final paper, and then we, or rather I!, received a D on that group paper. However, ironically the teacher graded on curve, and when the class had finished I was the top person of the curve, earning me a solid A in the class, a 100%! So with these two separate incidents having taken place in one class, the great disappointment in a D on a hard worked paper, yet a final A for the class, the shocking conclusion came to me, that the best work and the best outcome came with great procrastination, and little thought. 
You cared less about the outcome and it was far easier to receive a B or a C on a paper, if you gave little effort, but oh how awesome it was to receive an A on a project of which you didn't pay much attention too until the few days before it was due. I only regret I discovered the art of procrastination in my 8th year of college. Perhaps I would have been a traditional student and partied my way through my many freshman and sophomore years, instead of deciding to fit into the category of a "non-traditional" student, who is basically a "student that doesn't party."
I came to discover that the most fantastic shit was spilled out on paper and came together with less needed edits, and thinking and rethinking if you wrote a paper at the last minute. I found that I no longer needed to highlight in the book (and wow! I highlighted sooo much shit, as everything seemed as if though it might be an important detail), and then write diligent notes on notepaper, and then I would write questions and answers on color coded note cards, and go to the gym, and walk around the track reading the note cards, reading the question, then pausing and reading the answer written on the back, over and over, walking a reading, and flipping my note cards back and forth. Oh right so my point was I came to discover that it was much easier to only half listen in class, and hear the subtle 'Ok, pay attention, as you will find this on your quiz next week,' tones in the professors lecture, (although one particular professor actually did announce exactly what would be on the test and repeat several times the exact question that would be asked, it's answer, and then give you a study guide of what to study for, (I got a 100% on every exam). I came to stop taking notes; I stopped highlighting, particularly when I noticed that the headings, sub-heading, bolded words, and a selective sentence read here and there really did suffice in providing adequate enough knowledge to score well in exams. 
My whole world changed. I began to feel really good about being a solid B performer, I began to stop calling people back on the day that they called me. I stopped listening to my voice mails as soon I got home and noticed my blinky light flashing on my (oh what were those things called; oh right; oh no; ummm, you bought them all by themselves in the store, and you proudly put your recording on the... wow, I can not recall what those machines that singularly held the position in the household of answering your phone when you were away, and waiting patiently with it's mouth opening and shutting blinking silently a red light to announce the message to you when you arrived home!) OH! An answering machine! Gah! 
I remember setting up appointments and get together's and then standing people up with a last minute phone call or no phone call at all that I would not be coming. And everyone else was doing just that as well. I started now just having all my shake stuff at work and making my breakfast shake only once I arrived at work. The lovely breakfast snack went by the wayside, as it saved time at the grocery aisle if you skipped the cookie aisle all together. And, then something incredible happened one day, I discovered that frozen TV dinners were way better cooked in the microwave, not because it tasted better, but it saved you an incredible amount of time. I came to spend less time at the grocery store, as this requires list writing, and thinking ahead, and I found myself spending more time in the line at Starbucks picking up a chai tea and pastry, (as my tastebuds still required some delight). Heck, I stopped writing to do lists, or list of any sort all together. My sticky notes have come to serve no purpose but to take up space in my desk. And my most recent proud accomplishment is having a second set of makeup at work, and waiting until I get to work to Get Ready! Wow, what a concept, get ready for work when you are at work! Oh the snoozing that occurs now! And, it gets better, the time clock operates on a 6 minute cycle, so you can punch in as late at 6 after 11, and still look as if though you are on time! 
Well, a child of about 4 has just woken up for the day, and she is requires my attention, and I find I would very much so like to give her my attention, and go about heading to the zoo for the day! 
Oh, more about the cave man later, with the protruding brow.