If you clicked on this blog because you’re guilty of procrastinating something important, then I’m here to tell you: stop. Go away. Go do the thing. And come back afterwards as a reward if you like.
Still here? Alright. Let’s go.
Fun fact: I am writing this blog to procrastinate reading a lovely little chapter on structural bioinformatics and the intricacies of protein folding. It’s super cool, but I too am prey to the wonderful pleasures of sitting around and putting off important things. Such as studying for the test I have in 3 days.
I would recommend that you read Ines’ blog “10 Tips to stop procrastinating” before you proceed with this one, because it’s probably better to stop procrastination than to try and make the best of it 🙂
But now buckle your seatbelts, because I’m here to tell you 3 ways you can make your procrastination (sort of) useful.
Disclaimer: Like anything else, take my advice with caution. And please bear in mind that procrastinating – no matter how useful – is still procrastinating. The idea here is to make you do something useful and then feed that little boost of productivity to motivate you into doing the actual work you’re putting off.
1. Organize or clean a LITTLE BIT
I don’t know about you, but making my bed and quickly cleaning my table makes me feel like my life is in order. It helps me concentrate, and feel prepared for the task ahead.
Remember: The keywords here are A LITTLE BIT. This means that you do NOT end up sorting out that dusty shelf in which you find the diary you wrote in high school and flip through it for hours.
The point of this is to have a sorted work space where you aren’t easily distracted when you get around doing The Important Thing, and to have a nice resting spot to reward yourself afterwards.
2. Do a smaller, easier task
My personal favourites are blogging and answering emails. The key here is that these are both important things and it’s not too easy to get distracted. Ideally it’s something that leaves you with one less thing on your to-do list but doesn’t feel like a big task. You can…
- answer that email you’ve been putting off
- water your plants (if you have any)
- book a laundry slot for that growing pile of clothes
- brainstorm the task itself: Read Aline’s blog about brainstorming for clues
- fix your next meal(s) and do some meal prep
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do a bunch of push-ups or go for a run. And while your current procrastinating may equal laziness, it doesn’t have to. You can do something that’s low commitment, fun, and makes you feel positive.
- Do some yoga: I recommend sun salutations
- Go outside for a bit: read Lauren’s blog about how to stay active outdoors for tips
- Put on some music and dance (if that’s your thing)
- Do so many push-ups that The Important Thing starts looking more appealing every second.
- and so on (let me know if you have more ideas!)
Exercise releases all sorts of happy hormones, and tends to make me more motivated in general. I’m also more drawn to sitting down and working if I have been up and about beforehand.
Some important resources
If you want to understand procrastination better, Tim Urban gave a great Ted Talk about what goes on in the mind of a procrastinator.
Some procrastination is normal, and super common! But if you’re feeling unmotivated, distracted, or stressed over a longer period of time, or if procrastination is interfering with your well-being then do reach out for help. A great resource for that is KI Student Health, who can guide you to further resources if need be.
Lastly, don’t forget some of the most classic tricks in the book:
- planning your tasks extensively
- getting someone to hold you accountable for getting things done
- working in a group
- using the Pomodoro technique
- rewarding yourself for doing a task
- and so on.
I hope this was useful! As always, you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello, Inika here. I’m a third-year Biomedicine bachelor’s student at KI. I'm from India and a little bit from Sweden. As a Digital Ambassador Blogger, I'll be writing about my programme, things happening in and around KI, and giving insights into university life.