As you read this blog, I must warn that you will find, honest thoughts, ambitions, and hopes from my mind.
It is truly incredible to discover what can become interesting to you when you are putting off doing something. I have had a whole term of stress and anxiety over university submissions, with deadlines beating down on me like an unexpected shower of rain when you’ve popped to the shops in nothing but shorts and a strap top. I’m also currently struggling with the arduous task of packing, so my tiny room is ultimately filled with boxes and clothes, creating a dangerous obstacle course between bed and door. With such essays, revision and cardboard surrounding me, I have once again found myself revelling in the joys of procrastination.
I feel that my choice of procrastinationary activities vary depending on the very task that I am avoiding. I noticed this subtle difference as I relaxed after a hard day of dodging responsibilities, and compared the ways in which I had so successfully put off work and avoided packing. I am a true procrastinator, one of the best, I’d say, and I am here today to enlighten you on just how I do it so well. Or alternatively, if you are a human being of good intentions who rises to every occasion and fears the term I refer to, then this will help you understand the warning signs of the plague of procrastination and enable you to prevent it seizing you before it is too late. I will only go into one area of the hobby today, as I feel some of you may be reading this post in order to avoid doing some kind of work (also actually the reason I am writing it) and if it seems to be a hit, I shall delve into my secrets of success with you again in the future! Today, I tackle: Work Procrastination.
Work procrastination for me is particularly easy to wander into, as I type all of my essays up on my tablet. I’ll be hammering down on the keys with a furious passion, words flowing eloquently out of my fingertips at the speed of a thousand gazelles, and then there’s an abrupt halt. The reasoning behind this stop often changes, but there is always a halt. A fact has to be checked, a statistic verified, a quote sourced, a definition confirmed – something will stop you in your tracks and that is when it all starts. Your mind starts to race, your fingertips are hovering in time above the keyboard, and you try to keep where you were in the essay in your mind so you can launch straight back into it. Your mouse clicks pages with ultimate speed, your mouth mouthing words rapidly as your eyes skim read through the tabs you have open. Finding the snippet of information, you return to the essay and throw it in, ready to continue with your takedown of this 2,000 word question. But it’s too late. You waited too long. You took a mere few seconds to find what you needed, but suddenly the intensity in your fingers has died with no warning. The train of thinking is no longer speeding along the tracks – it’s slowing to a stop and it looks like this is the last one. This is where you get off, buddy. Blinking rapidly, you read the last sentence back to yourself. Last 2 sentences. 3. Final paragraph. Page. Essay. No amount of reading is making any new words form in your mind. The screen is no longer alight with your ideas streaming out in an articulate fashion. Now it’s just a blank canvas, and you can’t think of anything to paint. Determined, you return to the tabs that you had just searched through – maybe something there will trigger a new idea. Clicking from page to page of research, your sweaty palm accidentally slides the mouse onto your final tab, and it’s there. Boom. Facebook. Oh, Facebook. You are the devil in a blue and white cloak of fake friendships and dirty gossip. You hesitate, drawing a breath in, and for a moment, you think you can do it. The mouse etches back towards a respectable tab of research – you think of the essay, of how it had all been going so well. And then your index finger betrays you. The one that had been leading the battle against the essay; the one you had relied on to explore the depths of the keyboard and produce something of value; the one that was now beginning to scroll through your Facebook newsfeed. Your eyes widen – you had forgotten the world continued to turn as you had purged through that damn essay. Everything hits you at once. Holiday photos, funny statuses, relationship announcements, bitchy arguments, gossip, so much gossip! You click a link that opens up a new tab – a classic self help article from Buzzfeed, a hilarious tell-all story on UniLAD, a controversial feminist piece, celebrity trash on the Daily Mail, political commentary on the Guardian. Anything and everything fascinates you. You learn things you never knew and would never need to know but now you know them and you think that is seriously awesome, like the fact that Ribena was first made in your very city (Bristol – thanks Buzzfeed). You take a test or ten – Which FRIENDS character are you most like? How socially awkward are you? How many superfoods do you have in YOUR diet? You watch multiple videos, from tiny kittens fitting in cups, to drunken idiots sliding down glass buildings, from supernatural occurences to Terry Crews DESTROYING a lip sync battle with the words of Tay-Tay streaming out of him in an unsightly yet beautiful way. Then you feel a pang of guilt. You think it’s for the essay you have neglected, the essay waiting patiently to be continued, but you realise your mistake. You’ve paid so much attention to Facebook, you’ve forgotten to check your other social media. Onwards! You tweet about how well the essay is going (everybody knows it’s a lie), send out a generic Snapchat of your #SeriousStudyMode, and laugh through multiple Tumblr posts. So much laughter makes you realise how dry your mouth is… When did you finish toy drink? Actually, when did you last eat? Nobody can work on an empty stomach, everyone knows that. Woah, is that the time?! You’ve been working so hard, you definitely deserve a break. Ooh, and that ‘How I Met Your Mother’ episode that you watched earlier today on E4 is on again soon, perfect! An hour later, you’re still on the couch, eating crisps with a can of Coke in one hand and the TV remote in the other, continuing your 55 day streak with your best friend on Snapchat about just how tough university life is… Oops.
In all honesty, procrastinating is bad, but sometimes inevitable. If you attempt to knock out everything in one go, it probably won’t be the best work you could produce, you’ll tire yourself out and you’ll probably get distracted on multiple occasions. Plan out when you are going to work, close off every portal to social media you have open, and get on with it. Just do it. If you know me personally, then you’ll know I am really not one to talk – I am last minute, often unorganised, and, as you can tell, have great experience in putting things off. But if there’s anything that completing my first year at university has taught me, it’s that you can’t get away with it forever, and you will probably save yourself a lot of hassle in the long run if you don’t leave it to an all-nighter before your deadlines (as much fun as Dominoes pizza and pints of Coke with your best friend might be).
I hope you all continue to be successful in whatever you do, and if you aren’t, see if procrastination is getting in the way of your journey of achieving your goals! Comment below if you have any suggestions on how to combat distractions! Much love to you all. Goodnight.