March 13, 2013

ELIOT: Productive Procrastination

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If you read my biweekly opinion column religiously (I use the word “opinion” lightly – these columns are usually just semi-cohesive ramblings about nothing), then you may remember a column I wrote last September called “Nicki and the Syrup Thieves.” In it, I essentially just follow my train of thought and illustrate how distracting having the Internet at our fingertips can be. The main point I drew was that, all too often, the technology that does so much to keep up connected to the world of information actually is just a productivity leech and should be avoided as much as possible. I was maybe a little less hippie-dippy, eco-terrorist sounding last time, but you get the idea. Let’s not get distracted and do our best to stay focused when we are working.

This week though — the final push before spring break — I have come to just the opposite conclusion as I did in my previous column. The main difference between mid to late September and now is about five months of classes, prelims, projects and whatever else your professors may have thrown your way. Five months can be a really long time, and sometimes if there is only one thing that can keep you sane before going back to the grind, it is a cat video.

I’ve come to the realization that five months at Cornell without watching a video of a dog salsa dance in some sort of parking lot will only make someone go insane. Every now and then, the line between work and fun needs to be blurred. If we walk around saying “no” to anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, then we will all turn into Aldous Huxley-esque productivity-machines and constantly working for higher levels of efficiency.

So I am going to propose that the administration take action. There seems to be a lot of resources available to students in regard to mental health. For some reason though, many of us get too wrapped up in the marathon of work that a semester at Cornell can be and forget to do anything but try and get a lot done. I think Cornell should force mental well-being on us by sending out an email with links to funny or engaging videos like Ryan Lochte interview montages, a TED talk given by a Cornell professor, clever or informative Twitter accounts (@CommodoreEliot #shamelessSelfPromotion), and/or stimulating articles.

President David Skorton, let’s put that undergrad-l@cornell.edu email address to good use. I don’t have time to make it to Noyes every time they bring in wolves or go to Willard Straight to play with puppies (but next time someone actually tell me about these awesome activities!) You want to know what I always have time for? Three 90 second clips of the coolest dunks from the NBA last week, an article about how blue-green algae is becoming a legitimate option as a biofuel and the original Keyboard Cat video.

And if for some reason there never is a committee assembled with the job of scouring the internet for interesting links to send us, make sure that you take time for something other than your schoolwork. No person can actually become the epitome of productivity, so it is important to do something to keep ourselves sane. It doesn’t need to be the Internet ­— in fact, it is probably better if it isn’t — but just make sure that you take time for yourself.

Christo Eliot is a sophomore in the College of Engineering. He may be reached at celiot@cornellsun.com. The Tale of the Dingo at Midnight appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Christo Eliot