If you are a procrastinator, like everyone else with opposable thumbs, a brain, and a love for avant-garde heavy metal, you probably brag about it a lot; i. e. “I’m such a procrastinator… I literally waited till 3 a.m. to start my essay last night.” Procrastination is a universal epidemic, defined in the Official Smart People Dictionary as: “putting off stuff.” We all put off stuff (some of us more than others) but generally we think we’re pretty good at it. One UMass Boston student, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “People call me the king of procrastination. It may ruin my grades, but I’m very proud. Last week I started an eight-page paper two hours before it was due. I still haven’t turned in my first grade addition worksheet.”
Well, it is time to learn a bit more about the lazy beast called procrastination that seems to live in all of us. So, I decided to go to the experts to learn more on the topic. Recently I talked with Professor Wayston Yortime of the Procrastination Department of Harvard University and asked him some hard-hitting questions about the topic we are all far too familiar with. It was difficult to get the distinguished professor to participate in the interview. I received apology emails for his absence on our first three meetings, each with a different strange excuse. The first time, Dr. Yortime informed me his aunt had unfortunately passed away from an alligator attack while visiting the Florida Keys. The second time, his sister had suddenly called him and told him she was giving birth (to a baby named Alligata). The third time I attempted to meet Dr. Yortime for an interview, he claimed that he was fatally ill with a little-known disease called Alligatis. I was finally able to speak with the Harvard professor over the phone on the cloudy February 17th, when I conducted the following interview.
“Q: Why do we procrastinate?
A: It is quite simple. Humans procrastinate because, inside of us all, there is a tiny, mind-controlling child that voices our desires and complains bitterly about the tiniest inconveniences. This child seeks short-term satisfaction and delays difficult tasks.
Q: Why is it common for people to brag about the extremity of their procrastinative tendencies?
A: Oh my god I am the ultimate procrastinator, don’t even get me started on how awful I am…”
A few minutes later Dr Wayston Yortime was drawn away from the phone and the interview was forced to conclude early. At this point he seems more like Dr Wayston Mytime.
With my interview with the Professor being so short, I decided to continue my research on procrastination and consulted a Research University for help. The Research University of Research did a poll of Umass Boston undergraduates and found the following results about procrastination: 64 percent of UMass undergraduates think “they procrastinate more than their peers”; 39 percent think that “their procrastination has proven detrimental to their overall quality of life”; and 1 percent “do not procrastinate, have not heard of the place UMass Boston, and didn’t agree to take this survey, please let me get back to vending hot dogs, sir.”
In conclusion: next time you procrastinate, know that a mind-controlling child inside of you is to blame and 1 percent of people need to get back to vending hot dogs, just like you.