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Ways to productively procrastinate

      For too long, I’ve found myself sitting on my futon staring at the wall, or watching Netflix just to fit in one more episode. For the sake of getting things done, we are advised to avoid procrastination without any acknowledgment of the good it’s done. Procrastination always gets the short end of the stick, but we owe it procrastination—big time. Believe it or not, it is responsible for our best ideas at our busiest hours. Used effectively, procrastination is a powerful motivator and source of inspiration. Here are some ways to utilize that part of you that wants to push things off until the last minute.

Structured Procrastination

      With structured procrastination, you use the desire to avoid an important task as motivation to crank out dozens others. Anything to postpone that term paper, right? Now is the time to get organized. There’s no better way to feel productive while avoiding the inevitable than organizing your bedroom or living space.

       Look into networking a little earlier than before graduating. Do you have a bunch of contacts you should really touch base with but don’t have the time? Procrastination provides you the ability to talk to those who you may have lost contact with, and may help you later in the future. Taking the time to stay in touch with that best friend or mentor from high school may just open up an opportunity for social development.

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       The only thing better than actually doing something is thinking/talking about doing something. Take the time to identify, record, and schedule all your tasks, obviously leaving the most important for last. This also doesn’t need to be short term, either. Do you have plans for winter break, and you haven’t reserved your room yet? Look at prices for vacations for spring break as well. It is never too early to look towards relaxation.

      Procrastination is the best time to find closure for everything that’s on your mind. How has everything been going with your roommates? Have you been having some issues with your friends over what to do this weekend, or what happened last weekend? Tie up any lose ends to your relationships with others that will ease up your mind, and hopefully get you to a better mental place.

      Now is that perfect time to get to those errands done that have been waiting for you. Is that pile of dishes in the sink still waiting for you? Believe it or not, procrastination is capable of making the most tedious and trivial errands appealing.

       It is finally time to get up to date with all of your other, smaller work. Have a bunch of dull readings you probably should have read? They’re starting to look a lot more interesting. What about getting started with graduate school opportunities? Many deadlines are coming up soon, so those might need to take priority, unless they are what you’re procrastinating on in the first place.

       If you’re not going to do your own work, why not look into what your friends might need help on. You may have taken a course previously that they are currently enrolled in. Start building up those relationships instead of sitting around.

Unstructured Procrastination

       While structured procrastination is a great way to keep busy, sometimes that doesn’t cut it. When you’d rather not do anything work related, unstructured procrastination is the perfect way to go. It might seem like laziness, but sometimes what is wrong with that? Unstructured procrastination is essential for recharging creative energy and allowing the unconscious mind to work on difficult problems, so here are some ways to productively avoid work completely.

      You need to eat, might as well do it now so you can’t use it as an excuse later. Grab a couple friends, and destress as you crunch down a taco from The Lunch Box by Centennial.

       Exercise is a great way to get into shape, but also avoid being behind a computer screen. Head to the rec, the JKA community building, or even Planet Fitness in Buckhorn just to burn of some calories and some time. If the gym is too much energy, try taking a walk. A casual walk is a great way to unburden your mind and allow great ideas to come to you. Maybe it will give you the ideas for that paper anyway.

       Relaxing is always a perfect option. If you feel a strong desire to procrastinate, there’s probably a reason behind it. Relaxation is important for a healthy productive lifestyle, so why not do it now when you can’t get anything else done? Luckily, there are many programs offered by departments on campus that there is something always happening for you to join in on. Sometimes there is even Bingo nights, where you could walk out with money as well.

       Sometimes all answers are found in reading a book. Being something of leisure, it is open pushed aside for academic reading, writing papers, or studying for tests. If you’d rather not think for yourself, you might as well absorb the great ideas someone else took the trouble to record. Go ahead, pick up that novel sitting on the shelf, or head to the library for their vast collection, curl up on your bed or couch, and let the words take you away…at least until you really have to get to work.

      Get up to date with the most recent things happening in the world through your social media. There are multiple outlets you can access to experience some sort of stress relief, such as Buzzfeed’s channels such as Nifty, Tasty, and The Try Guys. These channels are great for kicking back, throwing your work to the side, and relaxing for something comical, fun DIY ideas, or what to make tonight for dinner. These videos tend to be on the shorter side, so you can watch multiple videos just to take your mind away. Any direction  you approach it, you are guaranteed to put off your work and take procrastination for a fun, joyful ride.

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Cody Deitz, Author

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