Procrastinating the Productive Way

Hira Himayun ’17
Features Editor

As finals approach, we tend to fall into a cycle of stressing out about exams we have to study for and papers we have to write, then procrastinating, stressing out some more and procrastinating all over again.

Procrastination is a normal, and an arguably integral, part of a college student’s life. Our brains are not always equipped to take in massive amounts of information at once, so procrastination can actually be a good way to refresh – in moderation, of course!

With procrastination often comes guilt, as we tend to feel like we we’re slacking off or being unproductive when we could be writing one more page of that essay or finishing up that problem set or lab report. But procrastination doesn’t always have to go hand-in-hand with counterproductiveness. Here are some ways to simultaneously study and procrastinate.

1. Watch television in a foreign language

Are you taking a language class but too lazy to get to work on those exercises, vocabulary lists or compositions? Watch your favorite Netflix shows or movies in French or with Chinese subtitles. You’ll be expanding your vocabulary, learning some useful phrases, subconsciously perfecting your grammar and getting into the habit of thinking in another language – all while managing to keep up with your favorite shows!

2. Do other work

This may not sound like procrastination, but putting off that final essay for a short reading for another class is definitely an undercover mode of procrastination. Maybe the reading isn’t due as soon as your essay, but go ahead and do it anyway; you’ll be glad to check something off your to-do list, even if it isn’t as important as the assignment you’re putting off. This is a foolproof way of increasing the feeling of being productive and eventually leaving you with no choice but to get started on that endless thesis.

3. Have a subtle study session on Facebook

If you’re in the mood to Facebook chat or post on your friends’ walls, by all means do so; but it would be a great idea to casually slip in some questions you had about the reading or problem set due the following week. Why not post links to study guides and helpful articles on Facebook? Maybe turn your lesson’s content into memes – it’s definitely going to draw some attention, and might even earn a few likes.

4. Go on YouTube

While this doesn’t mean you should spend hours listening to Justin Bieber’s new album or watching cat videos on loop, you can watch funny videos and listen to songs while being productive. The key is to make sure that whatever you watch is related in some way to your course work. There are tons of parody music videos about historical events, laws of physics and other academic fields that are presented in a not-so-academic manner. The catchy melodies will be stuck in your head, and so will the lyrics, which of course are far more useful for your exam than anything The Weeknd has written.

5. Go to the gym, and bring your books with you

This is a win-win situation; while you get your cardio in, you can also get some of that reading done! Skimming through texts doesn’t require laying out papers all over a table or endless hours on your laptop, so why not bring your readings and let them accompany you while you get your 30 minutes on the elliptical in? You could even do your readings while you’re holding a plank on the yoga mats, since nothing distracts from feeling the burn better than some dense, scholarly writing.

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