Perks of Procrastination

Hello Folks !

Today I would like to share the speech I wrote for my Project 3 at Toastmasters.

Disclaimer: Procrastination is dangerous, and I am just trying my hand at being the Devil’s Advocate here. Under normal circumstances I would not recommend you to procrastinate. Do check out this amazing TED Talk on Procrastination

Here we go ! Below is my speech.

 

It was dark outside, and everything very still. The only sounds were of fingers clicking away at the keyboard. The clock blinked 1:07 am. I was running out of time. A smile spread across my face.

Good Evening fellow toastmasters ! No, this is not a horror story

This was actually last night, as I typed my speech for today. The situation was a result of my terrible affliction. Many call it procrastination. A survey  once said 80% students in University procrastinate. And I can very confidently say that 20% students lie in surveys. We all have pulled all-nighters to complete that nasty assignment lying around since the beginning of the semester.

Procrastination: Everyone has done it at some point in time. Many call it the crown prince of all bad habits. The one habit that stand between you and your hypothetical Lamborghini. We have all heard the adages. “A stitch in time saves nine” “What you can do today, do not leave for tomorrow”   Yada .. Yada ..

Hold on .. I beg to differ.. I believe everything has a flip side.

My tryst with procrastination while writing this speech has opened up to me the perks of this dangerous affliction. Allow me to indulge you with my findings

Have you heard of the Parkinson’s Law ? It states “work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”

Tricky, right ? For example, let’s look at the summer projects we got in school. There were 2 types of kids. One who worked each day to complete their summer project over the entire course of vacation. And then there were those who frolicked all summer, and did it iit all in the last week, sometimes on the last day. If a task will fill out the whole given to it, the logical way to circumvent this problem is to give it the least possible time.

The thing to note here is that a procrastinators is not a lazy person. We just like doing the  non-urgent non-important tasks instead of the important and the urgent.

We tend to pick the menial easy tasks, than do that one thing which requires significant mental or physical labor. This Saturday afternoon,  I sat on my bed and was determined to write the speech. I opened my laptop. After 10 minutes of staring at the blank word document on my screen, I noticed the bed sheet was slightly crumpled. 4 hours later, I had cleaned my room, and finished my laundry.

To think of it, I would have never done all of this if I was not procrastinating my speech.ave never done the not-important not-urgent petty things. I am effectively utilizing the time better. As you can clearly see, Procrastination secretly increases productivity.

It is admirable to be the first one to do something. You are setting an example for others to follow. That is why, I will let you guide me by example. Why make mistakes when you can learn from others mistakes. My wisdom grows with time. Also, when you have less time to do something, you worry less about the details. Perfectionism can be a pain. One time I agreed to work on an assignment early on. My study partner spent two hours deciding on the Font of the presentation. You skip the unnecessary technicalities, you see the bigger picture. You are concise and Prudent.

As you can see, you are more productive and prudent.

Another interesting aspect is the Pressure. “I am a person who works well under pressure. In fact, I work so well under pressure that at times, I will procrastinate in order to create this pressure.”  these are not my words, but the words of the Canadian writer Stephanie Peal-McPhee. Pressure makes diamonds. Pressure tests a person’s true character. We get more creative under pressure. Last minute Jugaad is the mother of all invention.

Bill Waterson, one of my favourite cartoonists, wrote in one of his Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strips.

“You cannot just turn creativity on like a faucet. You need to be in the right mood.”

“And what mood is that”

“Last minute panic”

https://deboleenaroy.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/6e858-calvin-and-hobbes-procrastination.png?w=656

The night was dark and very still. I was looking at my laptop’s flickering screen.

At 1:07 am in the night, the 3 P’s of procrastination dawned on me. Productivity, Prudence and Pressure. A smile spread across my face.

My advice to you all. Don’t be afraid to procrastinate. It’s a temptation, if handled with care and moderation can boost your overall happiness and satisfaction.

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Thank you for reading till the end. If you enjoyed it, do share it 🙂

 

 

Statistics of Tragedy

( For my Project 2 of Competent Communication Manual,  Toastmasters, I gave the below speech. I received a lot of positive response for the speech, hence am sharing with all of you guys. )

“The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic”

It comes as no surprise that it was said by Stalin. The thing is .. He was right.

Large numbers often appear cold and distant, and almost comforting. Easy to turn our backs to it.

That is what happened to Syria.

4 years of brutal civil war

250,000 dead

10 million, i.e. over half of its population displaced.

And we didn’t talk about it until one photograph became viral.

It was the picture of a little boy, wearing red shirt and blue pants, lying face down on a beach.

He was Aylan Kurdi, a 3 year old toddler, whose body washed ashore on a beach in Turkey on 2nd September this year.

What have we done? Where have we come?

My objective today is to talk to you about the worst refugee crisis faced by the World since World War 2.

To understand the current crisis, we need to go back to 2011. The year of Arab Spring. There were series of protests and rebellions that sparked across the Arab Nations, demanding democracy. While countries like Egypt, Libya and Yemen were successful in removing their dictators, things got ugly in Syria.

Syria at that point was ruled by Bashar Al Assad. He decided to squash the rebellion with brutal army assault. There were mass executions and bombings and even reports of use of chemical weapons against civillians. To make matters worse, ISIS saw this as an opportunity to increase its foothold in Syria, and launched attacks on rebel groups and Assad led army. Imagine being caught in a 3 sided war. Millions of Syrians fled their homes. Approximately 4 million refugees currently reside in just 5 neighboring countries

Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan

Now these countries do not have enough resources to support such large number of refugees. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, i.e. UNHCR severely lacked funds. Conditions worsened in refugee camps.

Out of desperation, people started moving towards Europe. And Europe responded by increasing border patrol and making it almost inaccessible by land. People attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea in homemade rafts, and make shift rubber boats. Thousands have drowned. And so far they have just been numbers. “11 drown as boat capsizes, 27 missing .. “ just numbers appearing on corners of newspapers, running headlines on the bottom of a news channel.

Just after midnight, on 2nd Sept 2015, Aylan Kurdi and his family got on a small boat with 12 other people. The boat was built for 8.

Next day, photographs of the tragedy taken by a Turkish journalist went viral. It forced us to look at the plight of the refugees. To realize that they are people not numbers. Not number of blankets in a refugee camp, not kilograms of rationed grains, but humans in flesh and bones. Desperate for a safe haven, as they live their worst nightmare.

Angelina Jolie, special envoy to UNHCR, was quoted “It is sickening to see thousands of refugees drowning on the doorstep of the world’s wealthiest continent. No one risks the lives of their children in this way except out of utter desperation.”

The European Union till date is struggling to reach consensus. They have agreed to take in 120,000 refugees over the next few years. A paltry number compared to 1 million currently hosted by a small country like Jordan. They have also agreed to contribute 1 billion euros to the World Food Program. But there is no denying that a lot needs to be done.

Today European Nations are forced to take action because the tragedy of Aylan Kurdi made everyone realize that we cannot afford to turn our back away from this. We felt the desperation of a father who made the choice of putting his 3 year old boy in a makeshift raft to cross a sea because for him it was safer than the land they were fleeing from.

As John Green said, “we need statistics to explain tragedies, but let us not forget what is precious”. My objective today was to share with you the plight of the Syrian Refugees. They deserve your compassion, your empathy. They are more than just numbers in a news report.