Procrastination is something that we all have found ourselves doing at some point. Whether it is because we want to avoid writing an arduous 10-page paper, or we feel as if we can cram to complete the assignment in the few hours before it is due. In any case, procrastination often does not lead to very good outcomes as the quality of work may not be as good as we hoped or we underestimated the time needed to complete it and therefore we are left scrambling at the last minute. As we all have been told from teachers and other adults, “Don’t wait until last minute to complete your work.” There is always the idea once a project is assigned, that we will start on it right away and complete it a few days before it is even due. However, we let procrastination get the best of us and we are left starting and finishing a big project all in one night. Luckily, new insight has found that we can use our mastery of procrastination and use it to our benefit (Messaye, 2019).
Being in college involves having keen task management skills as students take several classes during the course of one semester and have other responsibilities to tend to besides school. In order to get our minds ready to start our work, we can begin by making a list. Lists are an extremely helpful took to organize your priorities based on the amount of effort needed to complete it, or the time you have to complete it (Messaye, 2019). In this case, making a list that includes what you will do once you get home such as make dinner, watch television, unpack your bag, and organize your work space. Even though you are technically “procrastinating” and not doing your assignment that is due, you are putting yourself in the right mindset that will allow you to focus on completing your work on time. Other ways that can be helpful to prepare to start your work is to do activities that ease your mind. Meditation can be helpful as you calm your mind from the stresses of the day in order to prepare to complete your work. Other outlets that can be helpful for some include doing the laundry or shopping online (Messaye, 2019). Even though this may make someone more distracted and less inclined to do their work, sometimes just scrolling through an online retailer can be therapeutic for someone who procrastinates a lot and can’t immediately jump right in to doing their work. Other times, if you have a big assignment due the next day along with other minor homework, it may be best to get the smaller assignments done first that don’t require a lot of energy and can be done quickly. Eventually, when you feel that you are able to concentrate fully on the bigger project, then you can start. Your mind is now free of all other distractors, you don’t need to worry about doing other homework or having to do laundry. You can now solely focus on the assignment and be able to complete it in a timely manner.
The one component of productive procrastination that needs to be done in order for this process to work is to make sure you have an eye on the time. Yes, it can be fun to sit on the couch and online shop before doing homework; however, if your allotted 15 minutes to shop turns into a 1- hour shopping spree, then this will not be conducive to completing your work. There needs to be limits set on how long it will take to do something so that your mind knows that you need to be done within a certain time frame. If you are making a list of tasks and then you want to organize your work space, you need to give yourself a certain time that this needs to be done by. Then you can look at the clock and see how much time you have left in order to give your self ample time to complete the big assignment.
Procrastination can be a hindrance to completing tasks on time, but it can also be used to help those with a chronic procrastination problem. By giving yourself time to clear your mind and to mentally prepare yourself to finish your work, you will be better able to focus on the task and not be distracted by anything else. This is why productive procrastination can be helpful to those who need some direction into completing their work on time.
Messaye, B. (2019, October). How to Procrastinate Productively. Retrieved from The Daily Cardinal: https://www.dailycardinal.com/article/2019/10/how-to-procrastinate-productively