I think it is fair to say that no one is immune to the procrastination bug. It hits all of us and often reaches its peak when the dreaded deadlines surface and our main priority really should be finishing our 3000 word essay. Distracting ourselves from what we really don’t want to be doing is fine every once in a while, but, there comes a time when we need to focus on our work. Everyone knows deep down that the day before the deadline we should really be finishing our essays.
The Facebook addiction is widely known and universally recognized as a key procrastination technique. It’s hard to explain why we will sit on it the computer for hours, pressing the refresh button and hoping something interesting will pop up. We will willingly scroll through photo albums 200 pictures long to comment on every other one and we’ll happily go ahead and write on our flatmates wall instead of popping next door and talking to them. This addiction is great and one that only gets worse the more work we seem to have. When we have our essay up on our laptops the ultimate rule is not to have Facebook open at all, helping us to avoid indulging in recent social gossip by the click of a tab. So, try disconnecting your internet or just be brave and close Facebook. It’s definitely an achievable goal.
Often, when you are writing an essay and 5.30pm comes along, the easiest form of procrastination is to start letting your mind wander to food. Cooking, chatting, eating and maybe watching some after dinner soaps can carve hours off vital essay time. If you procrastinate this easily whilst sitting inside and doing your work you’re more inclined to abandon it all together, go out into town, and not do it at all. Although that night in Elements might sound like a good plan at the time, you’ll most definitely regret it the next day when your word count is settled at 300.
But, never fear, there are a fair few ways to help bring the dreaded procrastination bug down to minimum impact.
- Take Breaks: Whilst doing your work you should stop regularly to recharge those batteries. Although you might have 3000 words to do in one day, it doesn’t mean you should do the whole day doing it non-stop. Think of realistic times that you can stop and have half an hour breaks, where you can eat, Facebook, stalk and talk to your friends in peace. Once a relax is deserved and out of your system it’s easier to carry on.
- Work with others: Group work can be very helpful, even if you aren’t doing the same thing. If your housemates are also struggling with finishing work then sit down together and do it, it then gives all of you the incentive to do your work when you’re all in the same stressful situation.
- Don’t just sit in your room: Changing your work environment is important, doing work in halls isn’t always very productive as you’re likely to associate your room with sleeping, watching TV and getting ready to go out. Work in a communal area, go to the library or sit in a friend’s room. It’s something different and might provoke motivation.
It’s easy to say don’t leave your work until the last minute, but harder to apply. Even if you do, it’s not impossible to finish as long as you’re focussed and set yourself realistic targets. But, no matter how much we try to hide from it, the procrastination bug will always be a part of our university lives. So, looks like we’ll just have to get better at fighting it off.