We invited IB Diploma Programme (DP) graduates to reflect on their lives and studies as part of a cohort of contributing authors. This is Byron Dolon’s second story of the series. Learn more about the IB Alumni Network at ibo.org/alumni.
by Byron Dolon
“Ceebs” is slang that I picked up in my later years of high school, which is an abbreviated form of “can’t be bothered”. It went from being just another way of saying “I’m too lazy to do homework” to “I’m going to take a break from work, and then come back swinging”.
Ceebs and procrastination. The two might even be considered synonyms, but personally, they have fundamentally different meanings. Procrastination generally has negative connotations, including times like the 30 minutes spent scrolling through Facebook instead of studying for a midterm. I, however, have created a different kind of mindset when it comes to putting off work. Instead of not spending time working, simply engaging in something mindless to occupy time, we should be productively using our unproductive time by “ceebs-ing”.
Productivity is typically associated with accomplishing things related to academics and work, but its generic definition is merely to achieve or produce a significant amount of something. For everyone, the goal of time spent not studying is to enjoy that time. In relation to this goal, productivity would refer to achieving a high level of enjoyment via something. That something is found in either procrastination or ceebs. Both do have the potential to provide some form of happiness. Ceebs, however, is a conscious decision to do something that makes you happy instead of working. Procrastination is merely delaying the inevitable schoolwork with small, repetitive activities, not fully committing to putting off work.
A typical ceebs block of time for me would be a game of League of Legends with a friend, preferably with a glass of ice-cold milo and hyped electronic music. Contrast this with procrastination, which might be scrolling through yet another edition of Buzzfeed article or Instagram feed.
The fun I get from playing a video-game is incomparable to the occasional laugh I get from Buzzfeed. The difference between the two is the fact that Buzzfeed tends to be a passive reaction to work that needs to be done. Procrastinating implies knowing you should be doing something, kind of wanting to get it done, but not actually committing to spending time away from work. You can be stuck in an endless loop of procrastination, because it is easy to think “just 5 more minutes”, due to its unending nature. In comparison, every League game has a fixed time, ending in either a win or loss. The adrenaline rush that comes from high-speed team play and the roar of the chat following every battle is what makes every League game so enjoyable. There is a distinct difference here; I choose to play a game of League, to immerse myself in another world for half an hour. Playing League, though just as “unproductive” (in the academic sense) as going through Buzzfeed, allows me to derive so much more satisfaction from my free time.
So why does enjoying free time matter? The consequences of procrastination are different from the effect of ceebs, simply because one is more enjoyable than the other. Following a game of League, win or lose, there is a sense that the past hour or so has been spent away from studying and in a world so engaging that the passage of time was unnoticeable. Following time on Facebook, there is a sense that the past hour has been wasted, because social media tends to be a never-ending stream of personal updates and click-bait news articles. Having wasted that past hour, it doesn’t seem right that you should go back to studying already, so perhaps another hour would do the trick. When there is an hour well spent, however, you are far more likely to be motivated to get back to work, because you know that you have allocated time for personal enjoyment. This is the difference between ceebs and procrastination. Not only that ceebs-ing is more fun, but that engaging in ceebs will lead you to increased productivity following your time away from work.
Ceebs is more than procrastination, more than a way of spending free time. Ceebs is, to be cheesy, a way of life. It is a philosophy that dictates how that significant portion of my 24-hour day spent away from work is spent. If you follow what many do and allow yourself to mindlessly go through Facebook, odds are you will spend a longer amount of time away from work, and still not be as satisfied with your free time as someone who spends less time away from work but ceebs-ing and not procrastinating.
Given this, I implore you: choose to do whatever it is you enjoy doing with your free time, and you will be happier; so long as you understand that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Be unproductively productive.
Alumnus Byron Dolon received his IB diploma from the Shanghai American School, China. He is currently a student at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Have a great story to tell? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more about the IB Alumni Network at ibo.org/alumni.