“Sometimes the struggle to be studious is SO REAL,” said Cierra during her second week of fall quarter.
I am not a lazy person. I am not very easily-distracted. I am not a person who often subjects others to my whining. All of this, however, changes in the face of a daunting pile of homework. All of a sudden, I turn into a high-stress bundle of non-productivity. You would think that I would want to rid myself of this anxiety as quickly as possible by doing my readings and writing my essays… it makes logical sense. But, alas, that is not how my brain works.
I generally save my homework for the evening, despite my afternoons being fairly void of, well, anything. So I spend the whole day thinking “AHHHH HOMEWORK WILL I GET IT DONE ON TIME OH MY GOD,” but I don’t actually do any of it till maybe seven. Even then, I experience a heightened susceptibility to distractions, meaning I’m probably spending more time on Buzzfeed than I am on The Rough Guide to Climate Change. As a result of this unfortunate lapse in self-control, I can get to midnight and still have a lot on my to-do list. This never fails to piss me off, because it means I have to either stay up late or get up early to finish it – neither of these options sound appealing to me. I’m a human, I like sleeping, I’m actually really good at it. Anyway, a few nights ago I rolled into Procrastination Station once again, but this time I had a curious thought. This thought developed into a theory, and the theory into an experiment. Operation Night Owl Catches the Worm was born.
I decided that I would work very diligently (no phone, no internet) for twenty minute periods, and these twenty minute periods would be broken up by hour-long naps. This way, I could go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up at a time that isn’t five in the morning, I would just be awake a few times in-between. This was my plan, my set of procedures. I had two hypotheses, knowing the results could really go either way:
- Everything works out perfectly and I win at science.
- I end up hating myself and possibly setting fire to something.
I started working at 11:40 PM, and I actually achieved quite a bit in that twenty minute period. At midnight, I went to bed and set my alarm for 1:05 AM (I felt like being generous with myself). And then I woke up at 3:50 AM.
DAMN IT! I muttered to myself as I considered launching my beautiful, wonderful bed out the window. I had lost a whole forty minutes of worktime, all thanks to that comfortable bed and my quiet alarm, which just happened to be set as the only Glen Hansard song that doesn’t involve a chorus of rageful yelling. Stop being happy, Glen! I need your unharnessed Irish anger!
Well. I was in quite the conundrum. I could either stay up and read my textbook in a sleepy, irritated haze, or I could wake up early in the morning to attack the homework with my sleep-deprived wrath. Yet again, neither sounded appealing to me, but I reluctantly decided on the former. I vaguely remember sprawling out on my bed, holding the book above my face, and reading the same sentence about six times. Needless to say, I was not at my most coherent.
I ended up going back to sleep at 4:40 AM, having finished what I could of my work. Despite being mysteriously full of energy the next day, I was quick to write down the following conclusion:
Theoretically, this is a good idea. But it’s hard to wake yourself up in a way that WON’T make it difficult to go back to sleep again.
AKA I’m not going to do this again AKA this experiment was a pain in the ass.
So, there it is. My first experiment since I took chemistry in high school. And probably my last. Moral of the story: procrastinators, whether they be early birds or night owls, never catch the worm.