Procrastination: The Thief of Time

Procrastination. We’ve all done it. In fact, you’re probably procrastinating right now! Wait, don’t go! I promise reading this will be worth your valuable time. So, why do we procrastinate? Why do we constantly put off studying for tests, working on homework, and, in our case, working on TSA events? According to science, people procrastinate for many different reasons: fear of failure, feeling overwhelmed, and a lack of motivation.

 

How can we combat the thief of time: procrastination? Oftentimes, the hardest part of getting something done is simply starting. Staring at a blank page can be intimidating–trust me, I’m facing that struggle right now. My first tip? Open a doc and write a title. There, you’ve got one line. Now, write your first sentence, then write 5 more. That’s a paragraph! Repeat a couple more times and you’ve got a page. Now, you’re 5% done with your 20 page portfolio! Feeling a little less intimidated now?

 

Great! But what about time management in general? How can you make sure you’re not sitting down and starting a portfolio 48 hours before a conference? Well, let me tell you a story. When I was in 8th grade–my first year in TSA–I was so excited to start working on my events! A couple months went by, and most of my events were well on their way. Except for one: Mechanical Engineering. My teammates and I read through the event rules, and figured it would be a fairly easy event. So we waited. And waited. It was a month before Regionals, and I remember walking up to my teammates asking what our plan was. There was no plan. In the end, I wound up working on the event until 3am, the morning of Regionals. Now, you may be wondering: Did we win? No. But have I made the same mistake since? Also no.

 

Now, for all my events, my team comes up with a rough plan of work at the beginning of the year. What does this look like? Well, we decide to have our brainstorming completed by November, and our actual project completed by New Years. From there, we usually try and aim to have the event completed about 1-2 weeks prior to the conference. By doing this, we give ourselves 2 buffer weeks in case we encounter printer problems, something takes longer than expected, or even just extra time to prepare for any onsite portions. Trust me, it’s so nice not having to wait in a long line at the printer a couple days prior to a conference!

 

So, what’s your plan for this year? Are you going to procrastinate and wait until the last minute? Or are you going to stay on top of things and have all your events finished ahead of time? The choice is yours. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at reporter [at] patsa.org. But for now, stop reading this article and go finish what you’re procrastinating from!