I’ve been looking at a blank white screen for about 30 minutes now. During that time, I have tried every strategy I know to come up with an idea to do my blog on, including: brainstorming, meditation, taking naps, and banging my head on hard surfaces.
As I stare into the deep reaches of white space, my mind begins to wander to all of the other activities I could be doing right now. I could be getting paid, my boss called to ask if I’d come into work. Or, even better, I could fire up the PS4 and rot my brain cells in a mindless activity for a couple of hours. Anything other than staring at a blank screen.
At least now I know what I want to do my blog on: procrastination.
Procrastination gets a bad rap from most everyone. Take, for example, what poet Edward Young said–
Procrastination is the thief of time.”
Basically, what Young is implying, is that people who put things off till the last second end up getting very little done in their life.
This makes sense, but is procrastination really as bad as people say it is?
Frank Partnoy, a professor at the University of San Diego, has a different perspective on procrastination.
Historically, for human beings, procrastination has not been regarded as a bad thing. The Greeks and Romans generally regarded procrastination very highly. The wisest leaders embraced procrastination and would basically sit around and think and not do anything unless they absolutely had to,” said Parnoy in an interview.
Even though I appreciate the interesting viewpoint, this simply does not make any sense. For example, later in the interview Parnoy talks about active and passive procrastination and says:
Active procrastination means you realize that you are unduly delaying mowing the lawn or cleaning your closet, but you are doing something that is more valuable instead. Passive procrastination is just sitting around on you sofa not doing anything. That clearly is a problem.”
Sorry Parnoy, but I think you have confused your terms. Active procrastination, as Parnoy defines it, really isn’t procrastination. It is simply managing your time and assessing what needs to get done and focusing on that.
If we define procrastination as–to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done– then we see that there is no such thing as active procrastination. It simply doesn’t exist.
It is passive procrastination that everyone has a problem with. The need to see the next season of The Flash or the craving to spend a couple of hours shooting Natzis on Call of Duty WWII. This is what causes most students to procrastinate, and unfortunately, even according to Parnoy, this type of passive procrastination is a bad thing.
Sorry procrastinators, but it looks like procrastination is still jua bad habit. That’s okay, I personally like to follow Mark Twain’s advice:
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”