Confessions of a procrastinator

Donna P. Crilly

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






My greatest moments of creativity usually arise at the absolute last minute before a deadline. In fact, I’d say that a solid 89.7% of my young life is a last-minute affair.
Let me explain with an example: When I was a senior in high school, I took one of those advanced placement classes in Studio Art. For college credit, I had to make a portfolio of photographic slides and “quality pieces” to submit to the College Board of Education.
Half of the portfolio included a concentration, which required me to choose a subject and “concentrate” my photos toward an original idea.
Long story short, I farted around all semester and took random pictures of whatever I saw; photo-shopping some, manually developing others.
When it was time to put my portfolio together, I had to pull a concentration from the dimples of my butt cheeks.
I looked at my pictures and the best ones were of inanimate objects. I pulled together a colorful fire hydrant, a Coachella flyer, giant pipes spewing water onto the Oceanside beaches and an assorted array of pictures that wouldn’t normally string together as a cohesive piece.
The result: “Inanimate Objects Portraying Art” and nine units of college credit earned.
My inspiring tale of procrastination is not an act I would encourage on a regular basis; however, sometimes, last minute efforts keep you on your toes, keep things fresh. I personally think that I get my best work done last minute.
Case and point are the times where I’ve struggled, stressed and labored over projects for weeks only to find my efforts futile in the end. If not futile, then just as well off as I would have been if I sauced up a next-to-last minute effort.
Overachievers beware. My procrastination tactics will match your hours of sleepless, eye-drooping nights of studying, until you tire from the content you’ve produced because you’ve seen it too many times.
It’s like passing a Target a thousand times on the freeway; you don’t notice anymore. It’s like sleeping with your boyfriend/girlfriend too many times; you get bored.
The best advice I can give for procrastinators is not to worry about it. I find that if you know you’re going to procrastinate anyway, don’t stress out about a task until you actually get around to doing it. You’re going to get it done, so go out and live your life.
With that said, I still admire those who choose to get things done straight away, because, well, that’s awesome; and many of you work hard. Just don’t kill yourselves and sacrifice too much leisure time.
Instead of being holed up in a bedroom or office marinating in your intellectual juices, thinking about something too hard and stressing yourself out, you could be playing hacky sack.
You could be watching the newest Quentin Tarantino film in the biggest theater in San Diego. You could be singing Celine Dion’s greatest hits at a dive bar with some random person you just met.
To me, these memories are more important than the ones of me massaging my temples while I hover over my computer screen and force inspiration.
Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson didn’t become the writers they were by winning the “most likely to succeed” award in high school. They went out and made memories. If they would have stayed in and studied all the time, there wouldn’t have been anything for them to write about.

Donna P. Crilly is the City Times arts editor

Print Friendly, PDF & Email