I’m an expert at procrastination. Truly. My body has been programmed to deliver during stressful times.
I can recall having this debate with my mother countless times in high school. She would always ask why I wait until the last minute to get my work done and I said it’s because I work better under pressure.
I don’t know how we came up with the compromise, maybe I just needed to prove her wrong. But she made me promise that the next assignment I had I could not procrastinate. Part of me did want to alleviate the stress that comes with procrastination, so I agreed and made a plan.
It was AP US History. Best class and arguably, one of my hardest. We had an FRQ due in 2 weeks. I made a plan- I planned my work so I could get it done in sections over the two weeks, leaving me with some buffer time in the end.
I’m pretty good at challenges, so I followed my timeline and felt accomplished when I handed in the assignment early. I had looked it over several times and honestly thought that my mom might take the win in on this one.
One week later the paper gets returned. D+. My worst score EVER on any of my assignments in that class. Potentially my worst score on any assignment I’ve ever completed. I was an A student and while I had resigned myself to feeling accomplished with some B’s in this particular class, I was not willing to accept a D+.
This one really threw me through a loop. So I handled the next assignment like I normally do. I waited. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t just “wait”. I had a ton of work to do plus playing in a sport, so I prioritized differently.
Time passes and that paper comes back with an A. This wasn’t just any A. This class you had to work HARD for that B, but an A doesn’t come along often- if at all.
There you had it. I had won. I told my mom to get off my back and let me do my work the way I want to do long as my grades stay up. She did and here I am today, a functioning procrastinator who excels under pressure.
So when I ignored that to do list all spring break (hey- they tell us to take the break even though the work still sits there because there is more work than any number of hours can really accomplish), I knew today would be crunch time.
But then again, it was my birthday today. I didn’t really want to do work on my birthday. And it was daylight savings time, so I already had an hour less than normal. And my son needed me to help him make it to a play date (we are working on social anxiety), so I took the time to be with him. And my kids wanted to watch a movie with me, on the couch, holding my hand, so I couldn’t possibly work at the same time. And I’m almost done with my show, so I needed to get closer to the finale. And I needed to write a slice before midnight, although technically it feels like 10:00.
So yeah, I’m taking the last hour of my day and I’m using it for me- for sleep because we all know that one of my kids is going to call me up there tonight and I’d like to be there for them without being overly exhausted.
That’s the thing about procrastinators, always rationalize why something can wait. But I think I like reprioritizing better.
This is a rebranding I can get behind! I’m not procrastinating, I’m reprioritizing my time! Excellent slice. Happy birthday from a fellow procrastinating late night queen!
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Dear Teachers Write:
I heard you calling my name with this post! And I felt the smile spilling across my face by the time I had read the second sentence.
This excerpt is so beautifully crafted. It is filled with honesty, vulnerability, transparency, angst, relatability, eloquence and all the highs and lows that are inherent in the procrastinator’s profile.
I especially appreciate the nuanced transition from a high-school procrastinator (me) to an re-prioritizing mom (also me)! You remind us that there is often great difficulty in determining what to do and when to do in the hopes that you will get it all done (#sigh).
Nevertheless, what an exceptional skill you’ve developed! You’ve reached a place in your life where you can discern what is of greatest value and what can wait, even if it means it may feel a bit more burdensome with latter tasks – because it’s worth it.
Thank you so much for sharing this slice! It is an encouragement to all of the “procrastinators” who have been overly self-critical, when in actuality we were demonstrating discernment at its finest.
Cheers to you (and all of us in agreement [smile])!
A fellow slicer who also regularly posts near the midnight/ten o’clock MST hour :o)
~Dr. Carla Michelle Brown
You had me at “I’m an expert at procrastination.” I am a lifelong procrastinator, and I’ve had a similar experience of turning things in early that just don’t cut it. Haha. And, I am absolutely 100% going to adopt your term “reprioritizing”-I love it. I prioritized working out and napping and hanging with my pooch today and ended up with about 30 minutes to get my slice done! 🙂