Healthy procrastination tips

Image credit: Katie Smith

The last week of term can be rife with deadlines, but not all procrastination is inherently detrimental. In fact, a good measure of healthy procrastination can help us to focus and have a motivating effect. Here are a few ideas to try if you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through instagram when you should be writing that essay...

Find some light watching on Netflix or YouTube

Now’s probably not a good time to get sucked into a gripping series with 6 seasons and 60-minute-long episodes, but the 20-minute sitcoms available on Netflix are perfect for providing a short break and a bit of respite. How I Met your Mother and Brooklyn-Nine-Nine are classics, whilst some of the Netflix originals like easy also merit some attention. YouTube also has plenty of easy watching, like the old episodes of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke – or even a selection of karaoke videos if you feel like blowing off some steam.

Ease some exercise into your schedule

Scheduled exercise classes and gym sessions are fantastic, but when workload is high, it’s hard to know when will be a good time to attend. Luckily, there’s plenty of ways you can build some physical activity into your routine without sacrificing a whole two hours. If you work in your room, try getting out of your chair every hour or so to do a few squats, press-ups or yoga poses; it will wake up your muscles and give you a burst of energy. If you prefer to work in the library and think the impromptu strength training might gain you some odd looks, pop out for a brisk walk around the city or your college. The temperature is cold enough for it to be rejuvenating, and it’s important to stretch your legs!

Pop to the common room for a cup of tea

It’s easy to feel like you’re being super productive purely by counting the number of hours you’ve spent at a desk that day, but we all know this isn’t always the case. A good way to work smarter is just to ensure that you actually have some human contact. Make an effort to have some of your meals in hall so that you can chat about something that isn’t work, or take a break for a tea or coffee in your JCR / MCR. You’ll probably get more work done with that half an hour break than you would have otherwise.

Cook yourself a nutritious meal

Cooking is time-consuming, yes, but it can also be enjoyable. Find a recipe that you’d be excited to cook, preferably something that also contains some vegetables, and set aside an hour to make and eat a meal that you’ll look forward to. Takeaways and super noodles don’t fuel your brain the way a home-cooked meal will, and the actual process of cooking is therapeutic in itself. If you don’t have time to make it to the shops, check what’s in your cupboard against a website like supercook.com, which matches ingredients against a database of recipes and suggests ideas.

Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing, and not everything that you do outside of studying necessarily counts as procrastination. Try making some time for life outside of your work, even during busy periods, and hopefully you’ll also enjoy your course more as a result!

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