Ah, procrastination. Every student’s frenemy. The putting off of, and delaying of important tasks that must be done seems ridiculous when thought upon. Why would you avoid something you inevitably have to do? Surely that would create problems for you in the future, she says wisely. And she is right. It does. But why are important and daunting things avoided? Because it is easy, that’s why. It is easy, far too easy to fall into the bottom-less trap of doing nothing. Once there, it can be hard to climb your way out of it. Whatever daunting task that follows you around like a needy cat, is now far away from you. And that view, free of responsibility, is most definitely pleasing. But, much like that one biscuit too much- you enjoy it in the moment but afterwards, the wave of guilt submerges you.
Staying down in that pit free of worry seems like an easy option. It’s a comfy place, there is no one to bother you, and there’s Wi-Fi. Why bother coming out at all! The longer you settle yourself there, the further away those things you are trying so desperately hard to avoid seem. They fade out of sight and out of your reach. They become so far away from you, that it seems impossible to get them back. And that is where the problem occurs.
Nestling yourself in a little hole filled with internet, Netflix and salt and vinegar crisps creates a false sense of reality, and security. The sense of stability you feel down there is not real. That thing you are hiding from? It is still up there. Waiting for you. It’s not going anywhere. And while the further you move away from it the smaller it appears to you (a concept Father Dougal never really got), much like everything else, it never stops growing. That essay grows closer and closer to the due date. The need for that awkward conversation intensifies. The split-ends that need to be cut get bigger. They don’t disappear just because you hide. Hide and Seek never worked like that.
There is a fine line which must be treated with care when it comes to stalling and procrastination. It is important to not let go of everything completely. Because if you do, it becomes near impossible to get the momentum again. If you wait too long, you miss the due date for that essay. If you stall too much, you cannot bring up the topic of conversation which caused you to hide in the first place. If you hide for too long, the split ends multiply. By staying down in that pit and stalling, a mental barrier forms. You cannot cross this barrier. It does not allow you to leave the pit of procrastination. The things you ran away from, things that once required only a bit of effort and adrenaline, have now grown so big in your absence that you don’t know how you will tackle them.
The question then becomes not, “how long can I wait before I have to do this?”, but, “how can I get back into the position that enables me to concur this task?”. After hiding too long and the self-creation of a mental barrier, it can be hard to go back to where you once were. The courage that is needed to tackle these over-grown tasks must be relative to the time spent avoided.
Because the longer you wait, the harder it becomes.