I’ve been a procrastinator for most of my life. The pain (and euphoria) of procrastinating may be familiar to you, if so I’m sorry. For me, the truth is that what it all boils down to, has always been and always will be boredom, not laziness.

A short story of my life

As a kid, the consequences of procrastinating to me were basically null. Didn’t study for a test? Get a nice grade. Didn’t do your homework? It turns out the teacher postponed the date. Didn’t brush your teeth? They are milk teeth, they are falling anyway.

But as I’ve grown up while life was passing me by, I kept procrastinating. Like a rational being I knew that procrastination would only lead to good things, less work for more reward, it was a no-brainer. And I was right. Until I wasn’t.

That’s it, that’s my life, thanks for listening to my TED Talk.

Paying for my sins

It all worked out well until a real challenge appeared: getting into a good university. For the first time in my life, I had to actually sit my ass in the chair and fucking study for once. Only I didn’t. I couldn’t. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I still just stared at a screen all day and said to myself: “tomorrow I’ll start”. I procrastinated for a few hours, then a few days, then weeks, and months. Oh, the test is next week, you say? F**ck.

I didn’t pass. And now because I procrastinated, it has cost me a whole year. 31557600 seconds. 8766 hours I could’ve slept. 11688 competitive CS:GO matches I could’ve played. It’s a steep price to pay for procrastination.


Why would one procrastinate in the first place? If you go to Google trends and take a look at search trends with the keyword procrastination, you’ll probably find out it’s very common to search for “why do I procrastinate”, “how do I stop procrastination”, etc.

Those search queries, funnily enough, were what I was spending quite a lot of my procrastination time on. So why was I doing it? Well, I already answered it above: boredom.



feeling unhappy because you have nothing to do

Source: Cambridge Dictionary

Boredom? How could one be bored if they have things to do? It must be laziness, then, right? Only it’s not, because it turns out in the above definition I conveniently removed the most important part



feeling unhappy because something is not interesting or because you have nothing to do:

So that’s it, studying is “not interesting”. That’s it.

But wait - you say - why would getting into a university not be interesting?

Well, because studying doesn’t have a direct relationship with getting into a university, being successful, or being smart. There are just too many variables involved that can affect your success. Furthermore, getting into a university is not an actionable step, it’s something that happens to you, you’re a passive observer in whether your test score will actually be good enough or not. For all we know if you’re lucky enough you could score a 0 and still pass because all the other candidates died in an unprecedented targeted meteor strike.

What I’m trying to point out is that the goal of “getting into a university” is composed of hundreds of smaller tasks that lead to it, some of which you don’t even know of or control, so you can’t act, you’re immobilized, frozen in place waiting for something to happen, or in other words: procrastination.

How to stop it

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” - Confucius

The above quote is truly timeless. It’s also not what we’re talking about: you and I can study, we could do it for hours if we wanted to. We could also get into a good university, the goal CAN BE ACHIEVED.

The question then becomes: how to make me want to do what I need to do. I propose then that for you to achieve that overarching goal you choose something smaller, actionable, and tangible that you can repeat until you’ve done what you wanted to do.

I procrastinated studying, but that didn’t mean I didn’t spend hours programming away on my computer, learning esoteric programming languages, or developing niche applications that will never see the light of day. But why was studying that more interesting than learning what I actually had to learn at that moment?

I was doing that not because I was learning to pass a test, just to learn, or just for the sake of it. I had a clear, engaging, and actionable goal in mind: to create a specific project.

So going back to the university example, the correct way for me (and possibly other procrastinators too) would be to instead of studying to get into a good university - a non-actionable, not concrete goal - I should have something much more tangible to do.

The recent suggestion I’ve got for this specific problem is: to study to teach.

It’s truly beautiful. I’m doing it right now, writing this blog post on the off chance that somewhere in the world will ever read this and learn something from it. What I get out of it is that I have to actually think for once and actually get something done. All of that just so I can teach someone else about it. It works. It’s obvious. Furthermore, it’s simple. And it has the extra advantage of helping others.

That’s why the exemplary students in school would give help to the other ones. It was not a causal association: the student knows more, so he teaches. It was more along the lines of: the student wants to know more, so he learns so he can teach.

So whenever you are bored and cannot get yourself to study, find someone else who also needs to learn what you need to learn, or maybe set up a website to share it with the whole world (but avoid spending much time thinking about it). Then, get up and teach it to someone else, because you will not be able to do that if you do not understand the subject, and you want to help that person, so you will put the effort in. You have now been turned from a procrastinator to an unstoppable work machine, simply because you have an actionable, concrete goal to do what you do. That’s it. Its that simple. However, now that you read this, it is time to:

Sit the fuck down and go study.

And as always, have a good one!