Productive Procrastination

A pen. A blank screen. Notes. Research. All of these things sitting at the ready. You lift your fingers and put them on the keyboard. Hands trembling, you lift one of them up and place it on the mouse. Minimizing the word document, you slowly, but surely, scroll over to your favorite web browser. Clicking it, you look at the clock and notice that, somehow, two hours have passed. Your tabs read “Youtube,” “Facebook,” and “Twitter.” You have been scanning these websites for two hours! How is this possible? What forces could have altered time to bring you to this moment of regret, guilt, and despair? A lone figure steps out of the shadows. You know him well. It’s Procrastination.

It’s tough to do work. After all, it’s work. Not fun. I’ve never written a twenty-page research paper and then sat back and said “Man, that was fun.” However, it is something we, as students, must do. There are times, though, when we must step away from our task before we even start. While some frown upon procrastinating, sometimes it is exactly what we need beforewe can get started.

Oftentimes, the biggest aggregator of procrastination is stress. “It’s such a large paper,” you cry, sinking into your seat, and slowly becoming one with the chair, “I’ll never be able to finish it!” In this instance, it is vital that you turn that procrastination into productination. What is considered productive? In this case, it is anything that can bring about relaxation. My options typically range from listening to music, to watching TV, to playing video games. Whatever your sweet treat is, use it as a momentary escape. Be careful, and make sure not to lose track of time. Set an alarm and stick to it. If your relaxation period is an hour of Netflix, do not watch another episode. Instead, use that as incentive. Based on the length of the paper, use your relaxation as a reward. For example, Two pages = thirty minutes of Netflix. Whatever the case, remember to balance your time and spend it wisely. Work is important, but don’t forget to take a break every now and then.

Sometimes, the best type of procrastination is procrastination with a purpose. Most often, when people procrastinate, they do nothing of any consequence. Do you have any chores that need to be done? Do you need to get groceries or fix that bookshelf that you keep telling yourself that you’re going to fix? Instead of staring at the same Facebook feed for an eternity, go get things done! If you have nothing to do, start a project. Whenever I need a break from my research paper, or I need to not think about it before I even begin, I decide to write. I know it’s not much of a break, but for me, writing is a freeing and productive activity. Whether it is a website or for my own personal writing, it gives me something to do. These stimulate my mind and put it into work mode without actually working. Once we get into the attitude of productivity, it is easier to write our paper.

While many people say that procrastination is bad, it doesn’t have to be. Choose to revolutionize procrastination! Next time you put down the pencil, pick up a book. Next time you feel fried after writing for two hours straight, replace that computer with a pillow and take a nap. Naps are nice.

Written by Alfred

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