I am due to present my first research paper in just under three weeks to a potential audience of 100 people. Among those attending could be some of the leading academics in my field. So, no pressure! Although I am nearly ready with my paper, there have been prolonged bouts of procrastination! You’d think I would have learned by now, at this stage of my academic life, but sadly not. I remember many a late night spent panicking, trying to throw together an essay or cramming for an exam. Even though I have put many hours into this paper, there have been days and nights when it has been difficult to focus and I thought that I would never reach my deadline.
Here are my top things I do when procrastinating:
- Make copious photocopies of periodical articles and highlight paragraphs in said articles until look like they have been assaulted by a five-year old with a highlighter pen.
- Organise notes and articles. Do a general clean up of thesis papers from the last two years. This includes files on the hard-drive.
- Wander aimlessly through the university library, browsing through books. Perhaps have a little snooze on a comfy couch, if another procrastinator has already stolen a spot. This usually kills a few hours.
- Write a blog. Check site stats. Check site stats. Check site stats.
- Go on Facebook and press the refresh button every five minutes, almost willing people to upload photographs!
- Spend time with the children because I feel guilty they are going to forget who I am if I am not at home.
- Bake, cook, garden. Take photographs of it all and post a blog on WordPress.
- Clean the crap of the bookshelf which acts as our repository for bills, important letters etc. which has accumulated for three months. It’s not like it cannot wait another few weeks, right?
- Clean the walls and skirting boards. Somehow procrastination makes me see all the streaks, dust and dirt in the house and I MUST clean it.
- Go to bed. I blame this partly on my children waking me at 6am every morning. So my excuse is that my brain does not function past 9pm.
Then the guilt overwhelms me, the panic sets in and I throw myself into it. Back to reality…
What do you do to waste time when you should be doing something important?