Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to Win at Procrastinating

Let's get down to business.

To defeat... THE HUNS.

(How funny -- right after I typed that, I heard my sister in the shower singing "When Will My Reflection Show"... I guess we're a really Disney-oriented family?)

Anyways, procrastination. Most of us, as fellow human beings, suffer from the wide-spread plague called procrastination. I say most of us, because there are a select few of you all out there who don't procrastinate. Like... ever. I seriously want to be you more than I want to be Beyonce. (And that's a lot.)

Me procrastinating... obviously not staged at all

Let's be real here for a second. We're probably never going to stop procrastinating. Because why do it now if you can do it later? Amiright? All those posts out there on how to stop procrastinating are BS. This post isn't about stopping procrastinating, no sir-ee! Naw, man... This is on how to procrastinate WELL.

I remember I had a book presentation project in 4th grade. I had to read a book and make a diorama of it. I waited until the night before to READ the book AND do the diorama (100% on my own, I may add). I actually didn't have the book until I told my dad to pick it up on his way home from work that evening. I'll admit, I whipped out a pretty awesome diorama of the ship that my Nancy Drew book took part on with my mom's scrap booking supplies, yet after I completed the whole project and finally went to bed that night, I swore that I would never wait until the last minute to do something again. (Yeah, right.)

As I went through my years of public education, I realized that if I was going to keep procrastinating, I had to do it right. My projects kept getting bigger, after all, and so did my stress levels.

Here are some of the things that I've learned:

1. Procrastinate on one thing at a time.

Gee, doesn't that seem like cheating? You may be saying, "if you're only procrastinating on one thing at a time, you can't procrastinate on other things!" Ah, yes, young grasshopper. To be a successful procrastinator, you can't set yourself up for a mental breakdown when things get too out of hand. (Lol, been there, done that...) For example, if you have two big projects due the same day, don't do them the same night. Do one of them a couple nights before, incase one of your projects turns out to be bigger than you thought. You'll spare yourself a lot of tears doing it this way, I promise.

2. Stay organized.

When you're finally doing something that you've procrastinated on and you realize you can't find the paper that describes the project, screaming/tears/swearing ensues. Don't waste your time on unnecessary stress. Organize yourself. Get a planner. Write everything down. Keep all your papers in a binder. Never give your assignment a chance to become a stray.

How cute is my Lilly agenda? My mother thought it was obscene that I spent $30 on it, but then I gently reminded her she, too, just spent $30 on salt with truffle flakes in it whilst we were in San Francisco this past summer.

3. Make studying fun!

Alright, so I guess this doesn't exactly apply to projects, but more so for studying for exams. Before exams, I buy a whole bunch of sticky notes. I use glitter pens to underline and circle important terms and phrases. Screw hilighters, I use the multi-pack of Crayola markers. Go to the Dollar Store! Buy some stickers to put next to sections that you've mastered. If the task at hand is fun, you'll forget that you have your impending midterm that makes up 40% of your final grade the next morning. (Well. Maybe a little bit.) Recently, I bought an app for my iPad called Penultimate. It's through Evernote, which is basically the epitome of awesome organization. I like using the app to take notes in class because I get to use all these different colors. And something about taking notes on a tablet is also really cool to me... (Like, guys. This is the future.)

I like Penultimate probably a little too much.

4. Don't stress.

Easier said than done, right? Here's the deal: when you stress, you aren't working as productively as you could be. When you're working on a paper that's due at midnight on Turnitin, stress is pretty much inevitable, but you've gotta find a way to calm yourself down. Washing my face or brushing my teeth are two actions that are oddly relaxing to me. My senior year of high school, I was going insane during AP season. In the break of one of my tests, I totally went all "when in doubt, dance it out!" mode. It was possibly the weirdest/best thing I've ever done, but BOY did it help. Pet a dog, sing a Disney song at the top of your lungs, run down the stairs of your dorm building; find something to get your mind off the task at hand. 

5. Do the work well.

It's no big secret that people do half-ass work when they've procrastinated on something and are hurrying to finish it. I think part of this may be caused because a.) people are stressed and b.) people are stressed. Seriously, what's the point of procrastinating if you're going to receive crap grades every time? Connect yourself to what you're working on. Pretend it's a life or death situation - if you receive a bad grade, you'll be imprisoned on the dark side of moon for all of eternity with nothing but the company of sexually active geckos that Russia will inevitably try to send to space once more. Actually, when I write essays, I think in a super posh British accent, and my writing sounds all fancy and proper, even though it barely makes sense. Hey, whatever helps, right?

Well, that's it folks. Good procrastination is an art. I hope you've learned a thing or two from my experiences. Now stop procrastinating and get back to work!

Do you guys have any advice for fellow procrastinators?

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