Today, I’ve invited a shadow scholar to share her experience on writing and procrastinating with us. Stacey Marone is a graduate of Social Sciences, freelance writer and contributor for a paper mill website. She likes exploring new cultures, languages and gathering interesting facts. In her free time, she also does volunteer work and organizes some activities for children. Her passions involve painting, reading, and writing.
I have a very convoluted love-hate relationship with deadlines. I love it because it is what propels me to do what’s needed to be done, but I don’t like deadlines for the fact that I’m a terrible manager of time. Most of the time, I find myself putting off a task for later, until the deadline is already around the corner.
While many perceive procrastination as a bad trait, I believe that we can turn it into something more positive. It is merely converting the time we put off doing what should be done into a time of preparation for the priority tasks.
Say you are an All But Dissertation (ABD) student. The only thing coming between you and that coveted PhD is your dissertation, and you could not get it because you keep on putting things off and have no idea where and how to begin. The key here really is to make your procrastination time productive by spending it on lesser important things that will contribute to the completion of your priority task.
The tips below will illustrate how you can make the most out of your procrastination.
Spend your time planning your writing.
A key to benefiting from your procrastination is effective planning.
When you plan, your mindset should be “starting out small, ending big.” For instance, you can already strategize how you will do your writing once you get around to doing it. Do you want it in 10 chapters or more? Should you begin researching on one aspect over the other?
While you are putting off your writing, you are now laying the foundation for it by planning out how you will do it.
Clear space in your schedule so you have more free time to write.
Effective planning also include having a schedule. Allot a time for the less important stuff you need to attend to, or want to do for fun. That way, it does not eat up the time when you are doing your actual work.
Let’s take checking your Facebook or Instagram as an example. You’re done with a part of your writing task, and you decide to peek at your social media sites for a minute as a reward. You wouldn’t notice that the minute has turned to five or fifteen. By allotting time in your schedule for these things, you are clearing up a reasonable amount of time to concentrate better on working on your actual task.
Get rid of any distractions that may put you off your writing task.
Distractions come in many forms such as errands and even that stack of paper on your working desk. Check these tasks off your list, and clear your working area so you have less niggling tasks as you write. Once you get these done, you can now focus more on your priority task.
Study the subject so it is easier to write about.
If you really feel like doing the actual writing later on, you can still make good use of your procrastination by doing research. The more you read up on your topic, the deeper your understanding and knowledge of it will be. Eventually, it will be a lot easier for you to do the writing since you’ve already mastered your topic.
Get yourself into a good sleep pattern so you are not tired.
A lack of sleep means lower energy, and deficiency in focus. You can opt to spend your time sleeping as a form of procrastination, so you will have more energy for your priority task. Keep in mind that a good sleeping pattern is essential for maximum rest because bad sleeping habit will just make you more lethargic.
Spend time with friends now, so you are not disturbed later.
As a self-confessed procrastinator, I sometimes choose to work in a cafe to put myself in the ‘right mood’ to work. My common mistake would be inviting friends over, and asking them if they would also like to work in the same place.
The thing is, this strategy barely allows me to do what I’m supposed to do, since my friends and I get caught up with chatting. I eventually just scheduled coffee dates with them sans the work part, so I could really devote time for my writing later on.
These are just some ways on how you can stay productive even while procrastinating on your dissertation. What other ideas can you share?