by Megan Sanborn
I have fourteen seconds to decide what to do with the next hour of my life. The countdown on the screen begins, and suddenly Netflix has control over how productive I am for the rest of the day.
I see an email pop up about an impending essay due tomorrow and suddenly, I am hit with the realization of how much work I have to do. Everything is starting to pile up on my to-do list, yet I am drawn to the idea of ignoring it all and wasting some time being entertained by some melodramatic show.
I begin to weigh my options as the timer continues to pressure me. Do I finish my group facilitation that’s due tomorrow? Start that giant essay that I’ve been pretending doesn’t exist? Or do I stay sprawled out on the couch and watch the third episode of Grey’s Anatomy in a row?
Maybe I can do both at the same time. I'll have a document open on one half of my screen, and Netflix open on the other. Surely I can focus on editing my research while watching Sandra Oh scream for suction on a victim of a brutal bear attack. Right?
Okay. This group project really needs to get done. The leader won’t stop breathing down my neck about getting my portion of the work done on time. There are so many things that have to be completed by the end of the day and I am the only one who can finish it all. I just have to buck up and do it.
But wait! Can I really prolong the anticipation of seeing what happens to the patient with the premature baby who is in love with her too handsome for real life doctor? Do I have the will power and the strength to ignore the storyline and actually be productive? I mean, I could do my project right after, no harm done.
One second left. It’s time to decide. Work or play? Productivity or relaxation? Life or death?
My finger hovers over the mouse, frozen in time.
Just as I’m about to exit out of the website, the episode begins without my approval. The familiar theme music begins, and I resist the urge to get sucked into another episode. My stomach twists with stress over my impending assignments. I know what I have to do.
I minimize the screen and shut out the world where doctors slap each other regularly and argue over their failed romances. I am returned to my life where I have emails to sort through and articles to dive into. There is silence for a moment, and I’m bothered by the absence of screaming actors and dramatic music. But I revel in the silence; I have full control over my actions now. I have won the battle against Netflix. But I’m pretty sure that I will never win the war.