24 March 2011

Procrastination- I'll do it la...

I know for a fact that I am extremely horrible with procrastination- as evidenced by my many all-nighters typing and researching papers that I had substantial time to complete reasonably without all-nighters. Of course, the worst assignments are the ones that you really have no interest in.

For me, those would be like....assignments dealing with the legal system, economics, cars, that type of stuff. I still, though, even procrastinate on stuff I don't mind writing about, like social work, or writing blogs! I'm deeply interested in psychology, and I put my psychology assignment off until the last minute.

The thing with me is, even though I often procrastinate, somehow, I almost always manage to pull off whatever it is that I needed to do-- and do it well. In high school, I might have waited until the night before to create that book on the parts of language and their function in the book we were reading, with examples, but I made a pop-up book, with examples and very deep explanations, and got extra points for creativity too! I have many a time waited until the night before, pulled an all-nighter, and received a grade that was at least satisfactory, if not excellent.

My method for studying for tests is simple- read along as we go through the lectures, and follow the sequence in which the slides appear, then the day before the exam, go through and read all the slides (use acronyms for things that are a list that might be more difficult to remember), then- immediately before the test, as I'm getting prepared to begin taking the test, glaze over the text or information to see if there's anything that I didn't remember, or that I had trouble sorting out. Then, during the test, I end up raising my grade several points just by remembering those topics that I skimmed over just before. It's almost like an epiphany- "Oh my gosh, I remember seeing that just a minute ago when I was studying!" It's a tactic that works well for me, but of course, not everyone.

Some people require time and patience to get through their assignments and do well. I don't have the attention span for that kind of thing. Some people work 10x harder than I do over an extended period, while I work 10x harder at the last minute. Of course, if they tried my methods of learning, they probably wouldn't learn much. I absorb information quite well, or so I hear, while others have to repeat the information and use it in a hands-on setting. I'm very glad I'm not this type of person, and I'm very sorry to those that are.

Thing is, the second type actually tend to succeed more in college (how I've done it the past 2 years, I have no idea, but I know it didn't work the first 4 years!). They're the ones that put in full study time (often suggested to be 3 hours of studying for every credit hour the student takes- for those that take a full load, that's a lot of study hours!)...and I just don't have the time of day nor the patience for that much study.

When I do study, it's very rigorous study that would probably be difficult for those other types that have been more successful than I in college. They need a plan, a system, a goal, and can often find one, while I find myself dragging around, at the last minute, in my mind panicking because they already have things worked out, while I don't even have a topic yet. Last semester, I had a research paper to write, and I ended up changing the topic countless times, while others already had their papers half written, or at least well-developed. I failed greatly on that assignment (so it was a success....at failing). Somehow, by the grace of a higher power or just pure luck, something, I have no idea what, pulled my letter grade from an F to a B, and I have no idea how, but I won't complain!

I've learned from my experiences, and I try to do more things ahead of time, instead of waiting til the last minute, although that is still the main strategy I use for testing. I sometimes finish my papers a week or two in advance, I sometimes write them on the day they're due....it depends on how much motivation I have.

I think motivation is a huge factor in procrastination. If someone is not motivated to do something, as I am not motivated to do research at all, and therefore procrastinated more, then they often won't do it til they have to. For me, it's a pure lack of desire for me to try, even if it's something important, just because I'm disinterested. Those who can power through that amotivation- I admire you.

Good thing is, I think in the future, I'm actually going to enjoy the things I do, and get intrinsic rewards from the interactions I have (who cares about the extrinsic anyway?). I already feel good when I come home from my internship after a great session. Speaking of my internship, that's something I didn't procrastinate on....I enjoy it, and finished all my hours earlier this month! High level of motivation, high level of participation, low level of procrastination. Anyway, I think this is something that will be key when it comes to me obtaining and maintaining a job. It's a structured setting, but the things I can control and help with make me feel great about what I'm doing. I know social work is a very underpaid and understaffed profession, but I'm really more concerned with the intrinsic rewards. I may not live in a mansion, I may not have three cars, but all I want is:

1) A place to live that isn't infested or disgusting- can even be small enough for just one person, as long as it's liveable
2) A reliable mode of transportation
3) ehhhh I guess I need food, right?
4) Most clients might prefer for me to be clothed when I visit with them
5) Feeling good about what I'm doing, and the feeling that there is some good, some value, to my work
5) A laptop, cell phone, and good internet connection- aren't I allowed to be at least a little greedy?
6) To be able to come home at the end of the day and know I was productive and useful
7) Medical stuff taken care of

As you can see, I really only want the basics (except for the laptop, cell phone, and internet, just because they've become a staple for me), and I'm more concerned about how I'll feel when I come home at the end of the day. That is going to be my motivation for doing my job well- others may only do their job well because they know at the end of the day they're going to get a paycheck, no matter how much they hate their job. I know that they may have material things, but they don't get much intrinsic value out of these jobs. Who really wants to be miserable the rest of their lives just so they can earn more money? Not me!

So I'm not procrastinating anymore when it comes to my [future] profession. I've done a lot better- I'm more timely, I have a motivation to get up in the morning and do what I need to do and dress nicely- instead of just blue jeans and a Tshirt. I take care of myself as best I can so that I am able to do my job well, and communicate with clients in the appropriate way. I take care to look at the things I need to look at regularly, like the NASW Code of Ethics, the most important literature in the social work profession. If I was going for a boring, boring major (or at least boring to me), I would have no motivation to get up in the mornings, I'd feel awful as I did the things I needed to do, and at the end of the day, I'd be dissatisfied. So there would be no meaning in it for me, no reason to *not* procrastinate, and I would likely spend half my life on edge because I'm always pushing deadlines.

I think I'll be happy to stop procrastinating, it'll make things much less stressful.....but, since what I'm doing now interests me, and is working for me, I don't see a need to change it now.....I'll work on it later.


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