The Many Types of Procrastination
Exam time. Again. Exam preparation season leads inevitably to one thing: procrastination. Suddenly it’s time for Instagram photos of juice, status updates about newly found addictions to The West Wing, a sudden interest in BodyPump classes interspersed with bouts of late night cramming … Oh dear, I just described what I did last week.
I’m not quite sure when the idea of procrastinating moved from necessary evil to socially celebrated convention but the advent of social media may have played its wicked part.
Over the years I have forged numerous procrastination habits…
I recently found myself staring at the reflection of my sweaty face in the gym mirror and realised that I wasn’t in the gym to further my chances of a good mark in property law. Oh no. This sudden love for BodyPump, a class I had once sworn to never attend, was not out of desire for a healthy body/healthy mind combo. No sir. I was in the gym to stay as far away from any form of study as I possibly could. I might fail my exams, but at least I’ll look damn good when I do.
Then there is the old favourite, procrastibaking. We ignore trawling through cases to find the perfect ratio of flour to sugar instead. We spend 45 to 55 minutes watching the oven more studiously than the invigilators watch us during exams. The smart ones then bring these baked goods to uni to exchange for notes.
Procrastibaking is often accompanied by her good friend procrasti-eating. I know that I’m squarely in this procrastination zone when I find myself opening the fridge for the second time in ten minutes in the hope that something new has magically appeared. Perhaps because I do law, not science, I choose to ignore the scientific impossibility of the Magic Pudding.
When exam time comes, even the most slovenly student may insist on completely cleaning their room and desk. The mountains of paper and debris that have managed to silently accumulate around us suddenly become unbearable. No longer will discarded muesli bar wrappers be permitted to fill up our bags. No longer will tall towers of textbooks be allowed to form on our floors. No. We couldn’t possibly study in such conditions!
By and large, cleaning your workspace isn’t the worst thing you could do before studying. But when you start organising your bookshelves like the law library, it’s time to admit that you are procrasti-cleaning.
My old favourite is the noble art of procrasti-planning. It’s amazing the hours that can be spent trawling TripAdvisor, Travelfish and Webjet finding the cheapest backpackers hostel that isn’t crawling with cockroaches and crafting the perfect itinerary.
Unfortunately I was so good at procrasti-planning during lectures this semester that I already have my whole summer planned and cannot use this ultimate daydreaming tool to avoid my study any longer.
Of course there are many other procrastination methods to choose from. Let’s not forget procrasti-tabbing: the incessant application of post-it notes to textbooks and summaries. Or procrasti-stalking: using Facebook to envy your non-law friends and their endless picnics and holiday photos. And don’t forget what I’m doing right now: procrasti-contributing.
But from all my years of polishing my procrastination skills I have learnt one important lesson. At some point all good time wasting, daydreaming and enjoyable things must come to an end. It’s time to own up to your procrastination habit, hit the books and get ready to be bored senseless when exams finish and you have nothing to procrastinate over!
Enjoyed this post? Sign up for the Survive Law weekly newsletter for more.