If you’re able to complete your tasks, specifically things like homework, without needing a deadline dangling over your head like a guillotine — this article is not for you. This Top Ten is for the people who need to be backed into a corner for their brains to let them focus on a task for more than 30 seconds at a time.
I, for one, am guilty of procrastination. Talk to anyone who has ever tried to sit down and do work with me and they’ll tell you that I have the attention span of a goldfish. I find every way to get out of sitting down and actually focusing until I’m backed into that metaphorical corner. My roommate Julia is much better about getting her work done than I am, but she, too, has been having a hard time starting assignments she thinks are pointless.
Even though we avoid our assignments like the plague, we both feel like we’re still busy all the time. We’re doing things, just not the things we actually have to accomplish. We coined this phenomenon “productive procrastination” — or doing the tasks that are on your to-do list, but definitely are not at the top.
I present to you the Top Ten ways Julia and I productively procrastinate on a weekly basis — subscribe at your own risk.
10) Spending Time on Technology
Whether it be scrolling through TikTok or Instagram or watching your favorite shows, technology is one of the easiest ways to procrastinate. In fact, instead of writing this article I spent an hour making an intricate TikTok, I saved a bunch of videos with new workouts and I added nine new books to my to be read (TBR) list. Is this fun? Yeah. Is it productive? Also yes. Is it completing any of the dozen assignments I have due by midnight? Hell no!
My Goodreads account tells me that in 2022 I have read 62 books so far. Yup — let that sink in. It makes sense that reading is something I want to someday make a career out of, but it is of zero help to me now. I find myself picking up a new book to “read a few chapters” of, but not being able to put it down until it’s finished. While reading is one of my favorite things to do, it’s also one of the worst things I could possibly do when I have homework due. Because let’s face it — I’m never going to put a book down willingly until I’ve read it cover to cover.
8) Planning Adventures/Vacations
I’ve made it very well known that I want to travel someday. When I sit down to do work, I often can’t stop my mind from wandering — specifically towards all the places I would rather be than behind a computer. Before writing this article, I was imagining myself relaxing on the beaches in the south of France with my good friend (and future travel partner) Emily. I know I can’t exactly pack up and go to France in a day, making my worst habit of planning day trips no one wants to go on, like today when I texted my friends asking who wanted to go skydiving. Guess what they said — no! But hey, now I have a list of activities to do if we ever get bored.
7) Calling All My Relatives
This might sound odd so let me explain. I love my family a lot, and being in college is busy. I have classes and practices, homework and a social life to balance — I don’t talk to them as much as I would like to. So what better time to reach out than when I’m staring at a computer screen waiting for my brain to load! Not only am I talking to some of my favorite people, but my homework is in fact not getting done!
6) Convincing My Friends to Come “Do Work” With Me
You guessed it — I’m the pain-in-the-ass friend that gathers everyone to do work and then doesn’t stop talking. Of course, if a deadline is approaching fast I’m able to do my work, but it usually takes me a solid two to three hours before my brain gets tired of jumping from one story to another so I can get work done. I can’t help it — I get excited when all my favorite people are together and I want to spend time chatting with them. Again, no homework is getting done but we at least we all get a good laugh in!
5) Work on Other Homework
This may seem like a weird one but hang in there. Julia and I both agreed that one of our best forms of procrastination is to start working on things that either aren’t due any time soon, or little assignments that take five minutes. An example is when it’s Sunday night and you have a paper due at midnight, but you decide to do your discussion board post that isn’t due until Friday because the paper is asking for too much. Situations like this are the epitome of “productive procrastination” because homework is getting done, just not what’s due in a few hours.
Because what better time to take an hour-long shower, deep condition your hair, shave your legs, put on lotion and do face masks than crunch time? Taking care of yourself both physically and mentally is crucial to performing well in school — at least, that’s what I tell myself when I take a “self-care nap” instead of starting my paper that is already a few days late. But hey, self care is productive because it helps to prepare your mind and body to focus on your work — except sometimes it would be better to just wash, rinse and get out for the sake of time.
3) Walking Around Campus Listening to Music
If you ever see me walking around aimlessly, one, pretend you didn’t and two, let me get some energy out. My friends laugh at me when I say I have to take the long way to meet up with them before doing work because I need to give my mind time to get a few laps in before I see them. Walking helps slow my thoughts down so by the time I start working, my brain is bored of every possible thought/distraction I conjure up and I look to my homework for new material. That could just be a me-thing, but hey, at least I’m getting some steps in and clearing my head before I open my laptop.
This one is more thanks to Julia who deep cleans our room every time she doesn’t want to start an assignment. She helped inspire me to pick up this (productive!) habit whenever I don’t want to do something. I can’t really complain about this one at all because I am messy and it’s nice having a clean room — but that unfortunately does not translate very well to our grades.
This is the one that gets me the most — especially on nice days. If you ever receive a text from me asking you to pick a number between x and y, it usually means I’m having you pick how many miles or how long I’m running for. Once again, this is super helpful for my physical and mental health because I’m someone that needs to workout in order to focus on anything. I find my ability to focus is the best after I workout. There has to be some science behind this, so if you know of any, let me know so I stop feeling bad about spending a few hours at the gym instead of researching for an article. Physically exerting my body and challenging my mind through exercise is fantastic for you, but takes up a lot of time.