Balance, Down time, General, How-to, Student Life

In Which I Harness Procrastination For Good

I think it’s safe to say I was at the point in midterm season, or huge-influx-of-essays-due-in-one-week season where my mind was frayed.

It was the kind of fraying where I just comfortably threw my clothes on my chair when I got home. I comfortably began ‘forgetting’ to put away the snacks I had on my nightstand. I comfortably hadn’t made my bed in who knows how long. I comfortably stopped using my table as a study space and instead used it as a storage for all the books and articles I had to read.

It was like when Frank Ocean sang “a tornado flew around my room before you came”, only my situation was a lot less poetic and probably wouldn’t win any awards. I’m just going to come out and say it – my room was a mess.

ALT="A photo of my nightstand and corner of the room cluttered with clothes."

An example of how my room looked at the time

Who knew procrastination would not only be the reason for it but also the resolution of it?

Let me provide some context. Starting last Monday, after tripping over various paraphernalia on the floor (clothes, backpacks, the BBQ Pringles can that I demolished at 2AM the night before), I was starting to consider that I might have a problem. My books lay askew everywhere, and as I brushed my teeth in the bathroom, my only thought was “well, I’ll tackle that problem later. I have an essay to do that’s due soon.”

Thursday came. I had finally finished the essay that was due and I knew I had to start my next essay, and so I went home after class to prepare some food I could pack and bring to the library. When I got home, my roommate said to me in passing, “there are some bad smells coming from your room, hombre”. I laughed it off in dismissal. However, in my head, something started to tick.

ALT="Clothes spilling out of my hamper."

Like I said: waaaay too comfortable with this.

Friday flew in and I was sitting at the table in my living room, trying to write something, anything, but nothing came out of it. Conveniently, I avoided my room and favoured the hard wood of the kitchen chairs. The ticking in my head had gotten louder anytime I actually took a look at my room’s conditions, and so I decided that writing my essay elsewhere would do the trick.

Sunday I had about a page done in my seven-page paper and my head in my hands. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I had replaced coconut water for regular water as an experiment for the entire week (which you’ll hear about next week when I share my odd experience!) and all I could taste was coconut in between bites of my vegetable crackers and hummus. I suddenly felt like I had to do something more productive than eating and staring at a laptop screen for three hours, and I found my feet wandering to my room in the back of the house. The ticking noise got louder, and louder, and louder. I opened my door, and the rest of the day became a blur of Mr. Clean, garbage bags, and vacuuming. I couldn’t stop – it was like something had taken a hold of my hands and repurposed it for cleaning. Who cared about Plato and Thucydides when your room was in grave danger?

ALT="My wardrobe"

The one thing that was relatively untouched was my wardrobe, though the lei probably shouldn’t be there…

I had watched Ali Wong: Baby Cobra on Netflix the other day, and I realize now why she was so invested in the book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. As soon as I was able to see my table for the first time in a week, it was like the mental gate in my mind rose and procrastination washed away in the huge flood that ensued. I was back in business, baby! And business smelled like the Vanilla Lavender Sunrise I borrowed from one of my roommates.

Cleaning up your living space helped clean up the clutter in my head. I’ve never been one to make my bed, but maybe there’s some value in seeing your pillows tucked in like cute babies.

ALT=A photo of my room decluttered and tidy."

A clean room at last! Huzzah!

Moral of the story: procrastination is a powerful force to harness. Why not use it to clean your room?