Friday, 12 April 2013

Dissertation procrastination and motivation

I think I have about a month til my dissertation's due in, and to be perfectly honest, I'm finding it really difficult to put the pressure on. I have a whole day set aside, but it's 12:35 and I still haven't done anything. In fact, I'm not even dressed. I've watched three episodes of Mad Men, done half of a YouTube pilates workout (couldn't get through the whole thing, don't judge me), and now I'm wondering whether to have a shower then lunch or vice versa. Oh, and I'm writing a blog post.
I know that I definitely procrastinate too much, but I also think that there is such thing as 'good' procrastination. If I'm taking a break from work, I shouldn't have to feel guilty about it if it ends up motivating me. Here's a list of things that I would label 'good' procrastination:
  • eating a hearty lunch
  • walking to Sainsbury's
  • dramatically acting out one song from Les Mis (singing along is optional but recommended)
  • making a phonecall
  • watching one short TV programme e.g. New Girl, Scrubs
  • making a Spotify playlist of motivational songs (here's mine)
  • boiling the kettle for a cuppa
  • writing a list of good ways to procrastinate (high five, self!)
The key to all of this is don't get too sucked into things, and don't take too long over stuff. Short but frequent breaks are the way forward. Otherwise, you end up in a bad procrastination zone:
  • watching an episode of Mad Men (it's too long and you'll want to watch another one straight afterwards. Same for Gilmore Girls and Doctor Who)
  • watching a YouTube playlist of Boris Johnson's best moments (yes, it does exist, and it's hilarious, but save it for later)
  • staring out the window (OK to do for a bit, but I once accidentally did it for an hour. No, I don't know how I'm at university either)
  • obsessively checking Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/emails - it's just way too distracting; they can wait
  • complaining to someone else about your dissertation - that is a conversation that will never, ever end
  • feeling sorry for yourself
  • looking for graduation shoes on ASOS (at this rate, there isn't even going to be a graduation, not for you anyway)
  • knitting (trust me on this)
  • doing your hair in a different style that you saw on Pinterest (no matter how hard you try, it will never look like that. Also, you're stuck inside doing an essay all day, no one cares what you look like)
  • searching for anything unrelated to your dissertation on Wikipedia (I just searched 'Wikipedia' on my browsing history and it came up with Comic Sans, FEMEN, Lauren Laverne, List of Mad Men episodes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bubble tea...)
  • taking over half an hour to write a blog post (high five of shame, self)
At the end of the day (sorry, another Les Mis reference) it's just a horrible, difficult, boring, disgusting, sickening thing to do. You just have to do it, and there's no secret or trick to help you. Stop procrastinating and get on with it. Now, I'm going to have a shower and eat a hearty lunch.

Images: Dave Walker Cartoons; Science Blogs

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