There should be a specific name to describe the universal phenomenon of deriving great comfort from reading or watching videos on productivity and/or procrastination. Especially when you are doing exactly the latter.
And there goes the click sound from the mouse again. My eyes instinctively flicker to the top right-hand corner of my laptop. The pixels spell out 10:19pm. The sensible neurones concentrated deep within my right frontal lobe immediately become electric in irritation. A little red siren begins to scream "Code red. Code red. Do not proceed any further. Notify motor neurones in the left hemisphere. For the love of all things good, do not let her click play. She had a plan of working on the assignment for 2 hours straight. STICK TO THE PLAN. DO NOT CLICK…”
I close my eyes, shutting out the sight of the messy desk strewn with doggy-eared pages and gel ink pens.
Two caricatures of myself P O P into my consciousness.
Angel: Okay, pal. Stop it right there. You absolutely do not need to watch a video on people dressing in coachella inspired outfits at a buzzfeed office. It is seven minutes and twenty-three seconds long. The video length exceeds the allocated study break time. By the time you finish watching it, it would be 10:26pm and then you will somehow validate the argument that one has to start studying at xx:30 mark. There is a 95% probability of you watching yet another video to satisfy your deluded reasoning that one must begin work on even numbers.
Devil: Blah blah, listen hun. If you want to watch people twirl around in obnoxiously expensive fringe jackets, you do that. You can just resume studying 10:30 anyway. It’s only a couple of minutes. Stop trying to give yourself heart palpitations by freaking out.
Before I arrive to a resolution, my hand registers my subconscious desire and clicks play.
The burst of cheap gratification and dopamine is somewhat exhilarating. And surprisingly, the short-lived thrill has nothing to do with the substance of the video. (It has zero significance or meaning to me anyway.) Procrastination is based on false security and endless justifications. These days, with the press of a button, we can step into a digital world peppered with little emoji humans and self-enhancing filters. Even with this self-realisation, me trigger-happy fingertips still brazenly press enter.
And down I go the rabbit hole of clickbait, temporary glee and mindless scrolling with the occasional reminiscing at an old photo. This kaleidoscopic landscape is marked by new pictures, Facebook algorithms churning out content streamlined to YOUR taste and the ever-so-handy ‘youtube recommendations’.
Somewhere in the middle of my Alice in Wonderland journey, I come to the sobering reality that this is a terrible affliction.
And I need to get out now, through the dizzying distractions that can be enjoyed later. I absolutely do not need to watch a two-minute video on the reasons to be happy.
My inner critic screams: “Fool, what the heck are you doing to make yourself happy? The video you’re currently watching is an artificial smorgasbord of artistic visuals and expensive lighting. You can enjoy the scenic shots of sunsets and delectable looking cake later."
At the same time, the inner artist defiantly juts her chin out and says “Ahem, it is art translated into a visual medium enjoyed by the masses. Look at that seamless intercutting between scenes of coffee cups and sunrise."
That 👏 is 👏 plain 👏 gorgeous. #SHOWTHATAPPRECIATION
Meanwhile, the inner oracle ominously offers her (unnecessary) insight into the near future. “I foresee a soggy mess of a panicking student trying to complete an assignment due at 8am on a Monday morning.
With a jolt of mild horror and anxiousness, I peek at the right hand corner of my laptop. My heart sinks into my stomach. It is 10:47.