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As Anna Deavere Smith Would Say…

September 9, 2010

At least I’m being active.

In her book (which I’m reading for my acting class) Letters to a Young Artist, Ms. Smith gives her two cents about a variety or topics, including procrastination. Both cents make complete sense and make me feel both less bad and more bad about how I am now indirectly procrastinating.

(debated) Lesbians always know best

The first point she makes is that procrastination is in fact ‘active avoidance’. Absorbing that and letting it roll around in my head, she’s pretty much spot on. I keep giving myself excuses not to do the work that has to be done for my 8 AM World Cultures class. Which I have only been able to do without…. study aids….. once. So I need to stop this vicious cycle of procrastination and do things the healthy way.

What is a study aid you may ask? (I include this section because when I would tell this story in real life, my euphemism didn’t quite register) Here’s the deal:

Tuesday night we had Fubar Soccer. Fubar is the theatre department’s intramural sports team, and our first soccer game was Tuesday at 10. So already verging on late in college terms. When it was over, it was near 11:30. Things I still had yet to do:

  • Read the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis and answer the corresponding discussion questions
  • Write a lecture summary of the lecture on reading Genesis that had happened the Monday before
  • Study thirty-one chapters of vocabulary and grammatical structures for the Latin Review Quiz
  • Image Track (follow a word or image or character and track how he/she/it changes over the course of the play and document the use and change, followed by a conclusion) Hwang’s M. Butterfly
  • oh yeah, probably sleep as well

As you can imagine, I was a little overwhelmed. However, I met the daunting requirements head on with an out of place sense of calm. You know why?



It wasn’t mine. I’m not a junkie. I don’t have a secret store of Rx pills under my bed. I promise and swear to all the gods and nature and Yahweh that it was a one time thing. Here’s why: I was subsequently awake for 41 hours.

I guess technically I drank two 16 oz. sugar free Red Bulls in addition to the Adderall, but the whole ordeal has me completely turned off from the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I was so focused and driven and I got all my work done by three and felt so good about myself. What I didn’t feel so good about was laying in my bed for another four hours trying to sleep, then going to classes, headache increasing as the day went by. You might wonder why I didn’t try to take a nap. My MWF schedule is booked full until four, then I try to do some of the work I got until rehearsal for Assassins at seven, and then rehearsal for a directing scene (I’m not directing, just in it). So then when I finish by 1 Am, I can finally rest in peace. <-Wait a minute…

So that is the tale of my journey through punishment into enlightened wisdom. The most important thing it has taught me is that I need to make time for homework. No more hours staring at the internet. Time management is key here. But how?

Again, Ms. Smith comes to save the day! He solution: just start to do something before you have time to think about it, even if it is something small. The main thing is to get the ball rolling, because it is easy to keep active once you start, at least for me. And today I started with this post. I will now proceed to reading for World Cultures.

Stay tuned,


Also: remember that procrastination affects everyone, so it is important to realize when you are ‘actively avoiding’. If you see others falling victim, try to help them out. But be safe with everything

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