How to Procrastinate Effectively

Today has been one of those days where I’m already approaching the halfway mark and I haven’t finished half the things I’d planned on. My laundry is still overflowing from before my trip to London (oops) and I have a midterm tomorrow I still haven’t finished studying for.

It’s days like these where I find myself procrastinating. I’ve decided as long as it doesn’t ruin my academic career, a little procrastinating is okay, and can even be effective. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

1. Set a time limit that seems reasonable.
If you don’t set a time limit, you’ll procrastinate indefinitely, which means nothing will ever get done. This is bad. Set a time limit, like “I’ll start work at 5pm” or do something with a certain start and end time as your method of procrastination.

2. Choose an enjoyable procrastination activity.
My problem is often that I don’t want to work, but I feel guilty procrastinating or doing something else. So what this translates to is me sitting at my computer anxiously, with my work open on one window and Facebook/this blog/Buzzfeed/Bloglovin open on the other. I refresh Facebook, look at my work, back at Facebook, check my email, and peek back at my work, feeling anxious the whole time about the time I’m wasting. This is silly. Why not spend an hour doing something I’d like instead? Give yourself a manicure. Make a cup of tea and spend an hour on Netflix. If you don’t want to work and have that much to do, you probably need to destress anyway. Spend your procrastination time destressing, not stressing.

3. Make a game plan for what you’ll do after your procrastination time has passed.
You’ll feel better about giving yourself a little time to destress if you have a clear plan of what you’ll do after you’ve destressed. Make a to-do list, and decide what you’ll be doing first. It also helps to write out how long these things will take, so that you can watch your Netflix knowing that you’ve left yourself plenty of time in the day for what you need to get done.

I try not to procrastinate too often, but currently I’m in a post-Spring-Break fog and academics are the last thing on my mind.

How do you procrastinate? Do you have any other tips?

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2 thoughts on “How to Procrastinate Effectively

  1. I can understand your fog with not only post-spring-break, but you are probably significantly jet-lagged from England time versus Pennsylvania time. I had the same problem when I returned from Israel in the summer of 2011.

    For me, my procrastination includes journal transcription, Facebook, sports forums, or Bridge Base Online. If I choose a non-computer procrastination activity, it is often riding my bike for the fun of it.

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    • I think you’re right! I hadn’t thought about jet lag but I think that’s probably part of it, even though I’ve been home for awhile.

      It’s good to have things you enjoy doing that are NOT productive – I think we so often get caught up in being productive that we forget the value of leisure.

      Thanks as usual for reading!
      šŸ™‚

      -Taylor

      Like

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