Friday, August 23, 2019

First Things First: How to procrastinate smart

April 3, 2019 by Tiegan Suddaby, contributing writer

I have a style of procrastination that I like to call “active procrastination.” Instead of doing the things you love to do to put off working, you clean. Or cook, or do extra work for another class, or finish a quiz a week early. Sometimes I plan out my life for the next two years instead of working on some monstrous task.

The key to advanced procrastination is to do something small as a warm-up before doing what you’ve been putting off. Obviously, there are time limits to these things, so I recommend taking five or 10 minutes of your time folding laundry or organizing your study space. Treat it as a warm-up to the big thing, or as a necessary item to check off for the day.

First things First is a column about issues pertaining to first-year students; it appears in every issue of Nexus (illustration by Tiegan Suddaby).

Cooking is certainly one of those necessary things that take time to do. Do a bit of meal prep and, as your food is cooking, begin your studies. If your idea of a meal is some toast, focus on both making it and eating it, and then start the rest of your work.

It’s basically a way to alter your focus; if you know there’s no way you’re going to finish an assignment (which, hey, you should do), find something you can do before you tackle the larger problem—just a small, manageable task that can wake up your mind. 

But I’m going to need to give you a warning: don’t put all of your energy into doing something that isn’t pressing down on you. Doing a stress-free, mindless chore should be within a timed structure.

Active procrastination should get you into the headspace of doing homework while tricking your brain into being productive with your time. It’s amazing how being an adult is basically parenting yourself.

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