As a Masters student, I more than anyone know how easy it is to get in to the procrastination cycle.
Whilst writing my previous dissertation I spent three hours looking at cats that look like models. They are surprisingly convincing. As always, I tell myself I need a break from all the hours of hard work I have been doing staring at the same page. What I really mean is let’s sack off the essay until last minute and hope for the best.
Here are some of my favourite procrastination techniques. It’s an art form you know.
Forget setting the alarm clock. It is crucial during essay period to get enough sleep. Except this usually turns in to a struggle of thoughts. If I get up I have to do my essay so surely I need more sleep to prepare myself.
2.) The hour procrastination shower.
You may think it’s impossible to procrastinate in a shower. But it is the perfect excuse. ‘Why haven’t you done your essay yet?’ ‘I was taking a shower, cleanliness is essential.’
3.) The TV series
It’s a trap! You never need to watch a show and as soon as you do you will be trapped in an endless cycle. Sarah Michelle Gellar and co. can’t write your essay and you can’t move to Sunnydale to fight evil vampires. So it’s time to get your head out of the metaphorical clouds and get on with getting in to the work.
4.) Facebook as research
Opening an internet browser with the correct work doesn’t count as doing work if you are flicking through the pictures of someone you neither talk to nor wish to talk to. Everyone I have ever met in the library has done this.
But don’t stress average procrastinator, I have a plan for those who struggle to do their essay before the final night.
And it doesn’t involve pretending to be mental to get out of work.
The first thing you need is a plan. Normally I would write this plan in a night. This plan needs to be as in depth as it can be. So it is handy to have all of your research ready. The research is usually best done between procrastination sessions. Do an hour of work then give yourself a break for an hour, etc. Once the research is done (it can be done in 12 hours if you man up!) and the plan is done you only need one night. I’m not condoning doing your essay in one night but sometimes there is no choice. And in actual fact some of the best essays I have ever done have been written in one night. If you have a plan in advance you can do anything. At this stage you know you have no choice but to do your best work. It is now or never. Turn off your internet, pull up your word and bash those keys till you have a tangible sentence.
So when there are too many essays to juggle and impending deadlines lurking don’t give up all hope.