Simplify to beat procrastination

In procrastination on September 17, 2008 at 3:03 am
Photo by joaobambu (thank you!)

Photo by joaobambu (thank you!)

Cal Newport had a great post today about procrastinating — and specifically, some of the roots of what he insightfully calls “deep procrastination.” Check it out:

Stop Procrastinating by Making it Easier to Procrastinate

I agree with Cal’s take on simplifying — and I’m also a fan of his “Radical Simplicity Manifesto,” about how to simplify while in college. The truth is that life is complex while you’re in college — and it gets tougher for students each year, as academic expectations continue to rise.

In school, I was the type of student who over-delivered for each of my professors — always wanting to do an excellent job, no matter how much time I had for studying. As a teacher, I did the same thing. Last year, I taught five writing classes while directing an educational program at another school. I love teaching more than anything, but when I took on too big a workload, it was just too much for me. I got sick. I had panic attacks. I stopped sleeping, even started drinking Red Bull. Most alarmingly, I stopped caring about doing things that I really love, like reading literature or doing my own writing.

Then, this year (as many of you from SMC know), I simplified. I cut my teaching load in half. It was hard on my family to lose the income, and it was harder on me emotionally, letting so many of my students go. At the same time, I started to enjoy my teaching, writing, and reading again. I started to have creative new ideas. My passion for my work came alive. Simplifying made this possible.

It’s not easy, I know. Cutting back on my work was one of the scariest things I’ve done, but even though it’s scary, creating extra time opened up so much for me — and gave me time to be the kind of teacher and writer I’ve wanted to be for my students. Cal’s manifesto helps explain how something similar can happen when you simplify your school activities — how (as unbelievable as it may sound) you can actually be more impressive for admissions departments, enjoy your studying more, and make the most of your time in college.

As you’re scheduling classes for this fall, I have a few questions for you to consider. Is it necessary to take 17 units this semester? Do you have to sign up for three different clubs and volunteer organizations? What would your schedule be like if you had a couple hours free each day? What would you spend them on? How could the extra time help you re-awaken your passions and dreams? I’m curious about your answers!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: