They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Procrastination is one of those insidious problems many grad students struggle with. So this post might not be useful enough to tell you how to fix procrastination, but at least it’ll help you recognize it.
1) You complain. A lot. Maybe you make a quick trip to the library (since you have a lot of work to do) and end up running into a couple of people on the way, but you feel this urge to stop and complain to each one of them, rant out about the extent of your misery because of all the things you have to do…It’s pretty obvious that if you spent less time complaining and more time actually working, you would get a lot of things done. But no. Complaining is the path of least resistance, which is what procrastination is all about…
2) Organizing. This one’s incredible because it fools you into thinking you’re actually making important progress when you’re not. You sit down to work and then you look at your cluttered table and think that you’d be more efficient if you cleaned up a bit. Which might be true to some extent. But then while you’re cleaning, you recognize that it would be better if all your papers were organized. But since you don’t have folders, paper trays and magazine file boxes maybe you can just run to the store to get them. And you end up strolling in the stationary store instead of actually working….If you’re in grad school, then you’re familiar with phdcomics.com.
3) Googling/Youtubing things for ‘research’. We all know the internet is the black hole of the new era; its gravity is so strong it prevents us from escaping. One website links to another and another and another….and four hours later you snap out of it and wonder where all the time has gone. And maybe it all started innocently with a short video explaining the basics of the Lattice Boltzmann method and somehow you end up watching a video explaining, “How to make visheti” (keep in mind, you might not even like cooking as much as you like eating visheti).
4) Talking about vishetis (which is a Swahili snack by the way), hunger is a very efficient procrastination technique. It especially works for people who are stress eaters. The stress triggers the hunger so they can think of nothing else but food.
5) Non-urgent items on your to-do list. Some of these are pesky items that have been on your to-do list for the past six months. But because you have something really important that you have to do right now and maybe because it’s a little bit unpleasant, it seems easier to just take care of the other pesky items around it so that you feel a sense of accomplishment with your to-do list shorter.
So which procrastination technique are you most guilty of? Leave your comments below. Alternatively, write them in the journal you started after reading Your First Step to Being a Renaissance (Wo)man.
P.S. I still remember the day I started writing online (on Facebook Notes). It was Dec 2007, and it was during finals’ week and I was efficiently procrastinating by writing a post on procrastinating. Sometimes procrastination is not bad. John Perry writes about this in this post; http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/
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Originally appeared on http://ahechoes.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/five-ways-youre-procrastinating-without-knowing-it/