IIT Kharagpur: Procrastination vs Having a good time

Acharya Prashant
11 min readMay 4, 2022

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): When we are with our friends on the campus, we usually end up wasting our time doing all kinds of nonsense. It serves no real purpose and takes us nowhere, but we do need to relax sometimes and enjoy ourselves. The problem is that this usually leads to procrastination, and then a lot of pressure is created because we lose time and cannot meet our deadlines. On the other hand, enjoying our time here does have some importance also. So, how should we maintain a balance between enjoying and managing the time and the deadlines?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Managing deadlines in the context of what?

Q: In the context of everything. Like when we are in college, we have assignments. And there are exams, and an exam is also a deadline to complete a particular subject. Even at workplaces, we have deadlines to achieve a particular target.

AP: So, you are asking how to adhere to the deadlines while simultaneously enjoying what you are doing?

Q: Yes.

AP: You see, a deadline is required only when you are in a system, a corrective system, an educational system. The presence of a deadline simply means that you are still not mature enough to do things on your own in a timely way, right? So, the first thing that you need is an acknowledgment that you are still not there in terms of loving what you are doing; otherwise, a deadline wouldn’t have been needed in the first place, or even if the deadline would have been there, it would have been irrelevant; in spite of its presence, it would have had irrelevance.

We are made to work on deadlines precisely because, without deadlines, we won’t work; we would simply procrastinate, as you said. So, you have to accept the deadline, and you have to accept it knowing that the deadline is useful to you. You have to humbly admit that the deadline is not just an external imposition, it is actually your internal requirement. You need the deadlines; it is not somebody else’s whim being foisted on you as a deadline.

So, now I know that the deadline is indeed helpful. Now I also humbly admit that I am not yet somebody who can work purely on her…

Acharya Prashant