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The ghost of procrastination yet-to-come

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My future self probably hates me. How do I know this? Because the person that I exist as in every present moment was a version of my “future self” at one point or another, and I find myself very frequently getting mad at “past Kassidy.” Not necessarily for making stupid mistakes (though she’s made plenty of those), nor for making the wrong decisions (plenty of these too), but for putting the brunt of all of her burdens on the “Kassidy” that she would become further down the road — whether it’s a few days or an entire month later.

Think of it as a version of A Christmas Carol — I’m Ebenezer Scrooge. Except, instead of despising Christmas, I apparently despise getting my work done in a timely manner. Instead of being a cold-hearted miser, I’m a chronically procrastinating college student. And instead of being visited by The Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come and changing my ways, I continuously give my future self reasons to want to haunt me in the first place.

You may think that I’m referring to “past Kassidy” and “future Kassidy” as a joke for this article, a new concept that I just recently came up with a couple of paragraphs ago, but no. This is literally how I address pretty much every problem in my life. In nearly any conversation about a large workload that can stand to be avoided for a little while, or a dilemma that should probably be addressed sooner rather than later, I always mentally (or even sometimes verbally if an unlucky friend happens to be listening to me complaining) state the following line:

“That sounds like a problem for ‘Future Kassidy.’”

And then I proceed to go about my day as if this future version of myself is an entirely separate entity, leaving me wholly unaffected by anything that happens to her. If only I could be so lucky as to have the option of unloading all of my worries onto someone else, moral considerations aside.

The main problem of falling into this trap is that it’s an endless cycle that only I can break. At pretty much any given moment, I’m dealing with something that could have (and should have) been taken care of much sooner, forcing myself to take everything that has more recently popped into my life and put that off too, so as to not find my present self too overwhelmed.

Take this article for example. I’ve been planning on writing this since Tuesday of finals week. And I had all of Spring Break to write it too. Alas, even on the occasions that I was just lying in bed doing absolutely nothing important, I decided that I’d rather continue binge-ing the final season of Bates Motel than open up a Word document and actually start doing something that matters. Would it have been much easier to get it done before starting the quarter (which has had a much more hectic beginning than I initially planned)? Of course, but hindsight is 20/20, and at the time, this was just something for “Week 1 of Spring Quarter Kassidy” to do.

Well, here I am. And I’m not going to lie, I’ve been tossing around the idea of calling it an early night in terms of getting things done and shifting around some things on my to-do list that were honestly supposed to be done hours ago. But don’t worry, I’m not going to.

I think I need to adopt more of a “Work now, play later!” mindset for this quarter. “Future Kassidy” will surely thank me for it when she’s enjoying a slightly less stressful midterm season. Now I’ve just got to figure out a way to travel back in time so I could have realized this a lot sooner. To the Ebenezer Scrooge version of myself, I’m the Ghost of Procrastination Yet-to-Come, and I’m certainly coming for you.

 

Contact Kassidy Kelley at kckelley ‘at’ stanford.edu.