Some things never change – procrastination and hyper focus


I can be so terribly good at procrastinating. I even can scare myself with it! With the same amazement I can be amazed how much I can do in such little time as well. Sometimes I am feeling that I am living on the outer edges of these two extremes without being comfortable stable in the middle.

In the end, till now, it didn’t really have consequences. Yes, I did start and quit a few jobs when I was younger, but, I think that’s part of life as I don’t believe that everyone lands a dream job for the next 40 years in a row.

I just had a flashback, a trip all the way back to 1990, to my childhood when I was 9 years old.

I could see myself sitting in my room, at my desk, mess all around as I never really took effort to grab my toys putting them where they should be. I was doing my homework. I was at a Steiner school, thus, there was a lot of focus on creativity, colors, drawing, and making everything look good, vs black ink on white paper as it was in ordinary schools.

I was so good at doing the very bare minimum only! “Look! There is a colored line! The page looks betterder! I drew something, okay, just the outline, but still, it’s something! Why should I do more? I already know the content of the lesson? Why adding on to it?”

I really found every single excuse possible not to make my homework booklet look good. Gosh I must have been horrible!

That was kind of my attitude and for a while I sat behind the desk or half played with toys or whatever I was doing. Too long ago to remember.

Then at some point I did have an epiphany or a sort of embarrassment that I actually pushed the line too far and with a hyper concentration I could finish making the booklet looking really nice.

“See! You can do it!” Teachers used to say.

My only thoughts were like, just because I can do it doesn’t mean I have to do it all the time you dummy teacher… I didn’t say that but it was in my mind 😉

A couple of years later at high school, I was about 14 years old or something, we had arts. We had to draw something about ancient Greece, with the temples, plants, etc, etc. Gosh that was too boring. I remember so well that this was my homework, to finish it at home as I hadn’t during class.

On the due date, of course, I didn’t do it. I came into the lesson, didn’t deliver and the teacher asked why.

“I forgot”

“But is it finished?”

“Pfff yes of course!”

“Do you live nearby?”

“Yes”

“Is one of your parents home” (I felt it coming)

“Yes”

“Go and get that drawing and be back before lesson’s end” – Shit

Anyway, I went home, took out the paper, and fanatically started coloring, OMG, that was some high speed production!

At the Steiner school I had to draw at least something nearly every day, so, naturally, I was reasonable good at it. Not compared to my class, but compared with the high school kids who were drawing less regularly, yes, I was good!

Coming back at school I delivered the drawing and the teacher was so amazed of its quality – yaaawwwwnnnnn….

Fast forward to present day.

I’m studying a master degree. 3 core modules, 4 electives, 1 research module and the dissertation.

When I am in that hyper focus mode, I really am super fast in my work and understanding things. I can only look at the screen for hours, completely forget the time, drop everything else and I only will be occupied with studies.

I understand, I can relate, I can connect that theory with practical examples, anything.
Well, anything but reproducing the same thing, as in who said it, what side of the debate and that factual information I should memorize (I so dislike memorizing!!) <—- exactly this is needed for the exams… But I managed till now anyway!

In between that hyper focus I am that same 9 year old again. Doing the bare minimum, being sloppy, and I do know I know but the effort to put things on paper is already too much… So, I allow myself to be distracted by…… an ant walking on the wall and I really can be idle thinking and wondering:

  • how did that ant come in
  • where did it come from
  • what does it eat
  • how can it survive
  • how did it walk all the way up here

I open Google and will find it out. 3 hours later, ok ok ok overstatement, I turn to hyper focus and my studies are done anyway.

Some things never change!

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