Written by Betsy Wagoner. Media by Justin Smith.
The name of this article is entirely too fitting, because it has taken me nearly two weeks to even begin writing. Needless to say I am a pro at procrastinating, so much so that writing this article has been a challenge for me.
If you’re anything like me, you can spend hours wasting time doing pointless things like Facebook creeping, Netflexing, or even going as far as cleaning your entire apartment to avoid doing homework. By now you know which homework assignments you can put off until the last minute (like literally 15 minutes before class) and you know which ones you may need to start at midnight the night before.
I usually justify my procrastinating skills by saying things like, “But I work better under pressure!” or “I have had absolutely no time to write this until now!” (which is a complete lie because scrolling through someone’s Instagram all the way back to 2012 is something I really don’t need to be doing).
Almost every American college student has the gift (or weakness) of procrastination. We all have things that distract us, and many of those things are really productive like going to the gym, hanging out with friends, or calling our parents. There are many things that are just as important, or are even more important than doing homework, but unfortunately most of the things we do are just excuses for our laziness.
And let’s be real, it’s most likely that you’re reading this article because you’re procrastinating doing something else. And although I’ve admitted just how much I procrastinate on a daily basis, I am proud to say I have never turned in a paper late or failed a test. I make sure I prioritize enough time to study hard and get my homework done by the set deadline. So with that being said, I am slightly capable of giving at least some pointers to help you on your procrastination.
I have to do this on a regular basis. If I start my homework at 9:00 p.m., I promise myself that I cannot check Facebook until 9:45 p.m. I am also in a constant habit of checking my phone about every 3 minutes (and 90 percent of the time there’s nothing to even check) so I will turn my phone off for at least an hour if I have a big paper or project to work on. For example, I turned my phone off just to write this article.
I have the best friends in the world, and that becomes a big problem when trying to do homework. I constantly want to run into the other room to tell my roommates about something funny I heard that day, or laugh about some Vine that I saw on Facebook. Friends can be a really big distraction when you’re purposefully trying to procrastinate, so try and find a quiet table by yourself in the library if this is a problem for you.
The only time I really seem to care if the dishwasher is unloaded or if my clothes are piling up on my dresser, is when I am trying to avoid my homework. Now cleanliness is important and I would suggest making sure that you keep your things at least a little organized, but the night before a 10 page paper is due is not necessarily the time to mop your kitchen floor. It can wait until tomorrow.
For some reason whenever I start a big paper, I start thinking about everything but the topic I am supposed to be writing on. Like I think about the color of yarn I want to buy, the shirt I am going to wear the next day, my plans for the weekend, or what brand of scented lotion is sitting on my desk right now. Those things are completely pointless and are just ways my brain tries to distract me. I know it’s hard, but try to focus on the topic at hand and then when the paper is over you can go back to thinking about things that don’t matter.
I hope that this small list helps you a little bit. With spring here, it’s really hard to stay focused. Try to set tiny goals for yourself, and that way you will feel more motivated when they are accomplished. Stay off Facebook, turn your phone off, and think about that diploma you’re working really hard for.