Procrastinating is an innate human behaviour. That’s my opinion based on the highly commended science I made up whilst I was meant to be writing an essay. The ability to distract oneself from studying is something we all master early in our schooling careers, and whilst there’s an infinite number of things students shouldn’t do whilst studying, I thought I’d just list 5 of them for your education and entertainment.
5 things you shouldn’t do when you’re studying
1. Pretend like you can study with a movie/TV show in the background
Come on, we have all done this, and some of us still do (guilty). We think that we are mega-uber-awesome at multitasking and sit in front of the TV or computer with a textbook in hand, supposedly working. Sorry to burst your bubble but it just doesn’t work! You probably have a unique set of excuses when someone questions your very bad habit, I know that my favourite one is “…but I work better with something interesting to keep me motivated whilst I study“. Whatever your excuse is, that’s exactly what it is – an excuse! There is nothing more distracting to our brains than your favourite TV show or an action movie, and there you are…practically handing yourself to unproductivity. Having anything on in the background means you work slower than you otherwise would, and that you reduce your enjoyment of watching TV or ze vonderful internet. For all my fellow students out there, physically switch off your distractions, work hard for a set time then sit back, relax and let your eyes feast on the entertainment. Thou shalt not pretend any longer!
2. Sitting at your desk, daydreaming
Oh, here’s another sin we all commit. Whatever you’re working on becomes dull, drab, boring…you start yawning – maybe you should take a nap, you look at the time…maybe you shouldn’t. You think you may be hungry, you are the stomach-growl whisperer. What should you eat? And you don’t realise it but you are lost in your own thoughts, metaphorically salivating over dreamland pizzas and burgers. Daydreaming by the desk happens to all of us, and sometimes it’s not such a bad thing. It can be refreshing to think about something other than your studies for a couple of minutes, and then return with new motivation and inspiration. However, the problem is when we run away with the unicorns and become lost in our thought bubbles. You waste time at your desk, inactive and unproductive, when you could just finish off your task at hand and then go enjoy yourself doing all the wonderful things you would have daydreamed about! When you catch yourself getting a bit tired, a little bit too bored with work, just take a minute to stand up, shake it off, stretch like a lion (the roar is optional) and get yourself psyched to get one more thing off of your To-Do list! Hocus focus!
3. Become convinced it’s time for a deep clean
I am definitely a victim of this one! When it’s time to do work, my mis-wired brain thinks what I actually mean is “let’s clean the whole house“. I don’t just dust and tidy superficially…oh no, I reorganise and dig up history! Needless to say, this is a very time consuming form of procrastination, and if you let yourself get OCD about it, you could end up cleaning for several days! I don’t have any tips of how you should get around this one, apart from just don’t do it. Your brain is trying to think of every other activity you could do instead of working – it’s not like it would tell you to get and clean if you were watching TV or about sit down for dinner right? You can tidy up once your studies are complete, and then enjoy your squeaky clean room – but let’s face it…you wouldn’t think about deep cleaning unless you were about to sit down to type that essay!
4. End up on YouTube
I do it. You do it. Everyone does it. Once the computer is switched on you will be on YouTube. You might be incorporating point 1 with this (pretend like you can study with a movie/TV show in the background). Unless you’re watching one of those super useful education videos, which are explaining in human terms how you should go about finishing off your homework, yes unless you’re doing that…you’re just wasting your time. YouTube is great entertainment, one can spend hours on it just clicking through the related side videos – before you know it the clock reads 3AM. Unfortunately, there is no room for YouTube when you should be working hard! It’s the mother of all procrastination methods, because there is never an end to the chain of videos you can watch. I once watched a video where a very nice man rescued abandoned dogs, and came out of an internet-coma 2 hours later! It’s a habit we all do, if you have a favourite site (mine is YouTube) you switch on the computer, open your browser, type the first letter and your computer is so lovely to remember your addiction on your behalf…and there you go…that’s valuable study time out of the window! Don’t do it. Don’t. You know you are the weaker one, and you will be sucked in by those pesky psychic recommended videos! Close your browser and focus. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder and videos funnier.
Maybe you’re studying a really hard topic, it’s tough, difficult and impossible. Maybe you’re working on something frustrating, it’s tough, difficult and impossible. You don’t realise it but you’re probably frowning. Stop it! Learning and studying is the mastery of life…not kick-starting the ageing process. By relaxing your face you will prevent those painful headaches and may even feel calmer whilst you are working away. It’s important to let work get you down, it is just another aspect of your life and you will overcome it to achieve great results. Be proud that you have gotten this far and feel inspired that you have the good health and energy to tackle it’s challenges. Try to be interested in your topic of study, read a bit more in depth to find something about it that really pulls you in. Remember that everything you learn adds to your existence. You will have something new to add to a conversation with friends, colleagues and teachers. You may stumble upon something unexpected that you would like to pursue further. Who knows? Try to keep an open mind, willing to learn and have fun. However, if what you are working on is so very much so so so dull, just remind yourself that once adrenaline kicks in about a day or two before your deadline, you will be on fire and complete it in record time!