If you’re reading this, you are probably participating in some form of distraction from the task you should be doing. Was I right? Did you feel a twinge of guilt there, a defensive raise of the eyebrows, a dismissive shrug of the shoulders? Are you sat right now at your laptop, possibly with dirty bowls and empty food wrappers scattered around it, and a Word document open, the title of your task neatly typed and underlined, waiting for you like a needy girlfriend for care and attention?
If you find yourself in some variation of this situation you are not alone my friend.
According to a quick survey of friends at this university, and others around the country, procrastination is endemic. Popular forms of procrastination include obsessive viewings of entire tv series’ online; facebook stalking, or surfing the Daily Mail’s TV and Showbiz section.
I myself have been procrastinating since about 2004, when as a tweenager I discovered Neopets. My procrastination is varied and wide ranging. I spend hours feeling a smug sense of intelligence and intellectualness with my participating in ‘cultural’ procrastination by obsessing over the Guardian and BBC news websites; while simultaneously contradicting this by getting through an impressive number of children’s tv shows (I got through an astonishing 66 episodes of the original Pokémon in two weeks this term). All the while, I find a voice inside me screaming “SORT YOUR FUCKING LIFE OUT, YOU USELESS TOAD”, a battle in my head I always win as I reach for the next boxset of Green Wing.
After watching Grand Designs and Relocation Relocation in succession on Saturday, I thought to myself ‘Liv – you’re turning into a middle-aged woman’. It was when I turned on Time Team that I realised I was wrong – I was turning into my dad. Which is not a good position for a twenty year old woman to be in, and I resolved to myself that I would stop this horrific situation. Yet since then I have continued to do shit online and ignore my workload!
So the big question is: HOW do we stop our inner-procastination monsters from ruining our educational lives?
I had a conference call with my GBF and asked him the same question (he too is a notorious procrastinator). His answer: it’s impossible. However, with some further thought, we have come up with a list to try and help ourselves, and our fellow procrastinators….
- Make a list. And try and stick to it. A little bit of list-making can go a looong way. Just make sure you don’t ignore the list, or allow your mind to be put at rest and think that’s the day’s work over when said list is completed.
- Find a work zone. Preferably somewhere with no internet access. Possibly a communal space (I find the kitchen works well), with so many distractions you HAVE to concentrate, and your friends can keep an eye on you and make you concentrate. My GBF recommends an uncomfy chair as well…
- Make sure all paperwork is in order before you commence said work. Stopping from work to find paperwork can lead to all sorts of distractions. Use a web app thingy to limit your time to procrastinary websites such as Facebook or Tumblr. is good for PCs and Mac.
- Find the right time of day to do your work. I find the best time to do work is between 00:00 – 7:00. Any other time of day there are too many other distractions: people online, a bright and shiny sun, mealtimes etc etc. The only problem with those working hours are that they are the most common going-out hours also. Life’s a bitch.
So yeah. I’m going to stop writing this article soon as it in itself is procrastination. I will try and do my work now, hopefully my tips will prove useful, if I have the will-power to follow them. I hope they’re helpful to you too, good luck.
(On another note, other things learnt from this article: I am a horrific narcissist, must stop talking about myself. I am also a middle aged nerd who doesn’t do any work. FML.)