A How-To By Sophie:
When it comes to studying, I am a huge procrastinator. But not the typical kind of internet stalking or TV watching kind of procrastinator. I spend my time doing what I like to call “productive procrastination.”
You know that feeling when you have so much work to do but you just don’t feel like doing it? I like to be productive in my procrastination so that I don’t feel guilty about the fact that I’m not doing work.
For example, last Tuesday I had two midterms coming up, but I simply could not bring myself to study for them. In the time that I didn’t spend studying, I found myself cleaning my ENTIRE room, doing laundry, painting my nails, organizing my computer files, and re-organizing my schedule and calendar. I know… I’m weird. But being productive really took away some of the guilt I was feeling about neglecting my work. My room was as clean as could be and my schedule was completely rearranged. I was so proud of my newly organized white board calendar that I was seriously considering Instagraming it (but then I realized that it was embarrassing that I had spent an hour making a white board look beautiful.) I even created my very first resume that day!
Either way, procrastination is bad. The next day the wrath of midterm studying reigned down on me, but at least I was organized and my room was clean right!?
I know that my day of productive procrastination sounds completely pointless, but for me it actually wasn’t. By having a clean and organized room and schedule, I felt prepared to tackle my exams. I had a nice environment to study in and I was ready to go! I also find that when I feel organized, I work better.
There are other ways of productively procrastinating (not related to organizing) which are beneficial to everyone! Here is a list of a couple productive activities that I have done in the past.
- Hit the gym – When I take a break to watch TV or mindlessly scroll through websites, I end up feeling more restless and have trouble getting back to work. Squeezing in a good workout will have you feeling refreshed and ready to work! It’s a great way to re-boot your energy and put you in a better mood!
- Put together a healthy meal – Take a nice break from studying to put together a healthy and hearty meal. I know, Ramen noodles are delicious and easy to make, but they are SO unhealthy. Make a yummy dinner full of protein and veggies instead! Take the time to research healthy recipes and get the ingredients you need from the grocery store!
- Go for a walk – My friend Matt had a dog named Maggie staying at his house a couple weeks ago and asked me to go with him to take her for a walk. It was so nice to take a break from studying and head out for a walk to the park and around the neighbourhood. Ask a friend to walk with you to Starbucks or David’s Tea. You’ll feel so much better afterwards!
- Trip to the Humane society – Speaking of dogs….last Friday my boyfriend and I took a study break to visit the dogs at the Humane Society. We got there expecting only to be able to play with a couple of the dogs, but it turns out that you can take them for walks, and spend some time in an outdoor playpen with them! We took a dog, named Wally, for a long walk out back around the Humane Society’s outdoor trails. It was so relaxing and fun!
- Hang out with your housemates/roommate – Whenever I’m tired from studying or super stressed, I always end up wandering around my house bothering my hosuemates. Even if you just spend ten minutes chatting in their room, you will feel a lot less stressed and more focused when you get back to work!
- Read a magazine or newspaper – Instead of scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook as a study break, pick up some of your favorite magazines or the newspaper at your closest corner store. I always think that it’s better to take a break without technology bothering you. Plus, once you start scrolling through entertaining websites, it’s hard to stop!
Doing some of this “productive procrastination” might just get your focus back in check, so you can really bear down and hit the books with a clear mind.
Sophie Young, Online Contributor