The Art of Procrastination
By Sarah Murray, Emma Richardson and Erin Bourke
Probably the single biggest issue facing students during the exam season, indigo delves into the psyche behind procrastination.
Procrastinate study, procrastinate assignments, procrastinate writing this article. Whether we like it or not procrastination is a global epidemic and one which manifests itself commonly among students.
A quick, unofficial survey reveals several categories of procrastination among students; ranging from ‘high’ to ‘low’. The art of ‘high’ procrastination is the purest form involving the liberal brushing away of any attempt to work on essays, lab-reports or revision. The key tools of such a calibre of work avoidance include (most commonly)
Facebook, Youtube, and various other internet sites of dubious relevance to any part of your life, the more obscure the better.
The second form of procrastination is a sort of middle-ground in the art of delaying endeavour. These are activities that are no doubt ‘work’ in the widest sense, but do not have any relation to your degree. This includes cooking, shopping and making your bed and room as un-Tracy Emin-like as possible. It is amazing what the practiced procrastination artisan can achieve in especially pressured circumstances; developing an attention to detail that requires a mastery of cleaning products, plastic bags and sheet folding.
The last form of procrastination is ‘low’ in the dallying stakes and can be practiced even the most novice work-phobia convert. It is a collage of work and non-work, having the veneer of studiousness, a hue of serious study, but with a background of unrelated but fascinating things. E-mails are a particularly good source material, especially when mixed with various newspapers and perfecting the art of tea-making, folder organising and doodling down margins.
So why do we do it? There is no rhyme nor reason, no convoluted psychological issue or preventative steps. Procrastination is human nature; to take the easier option and do something you’re actually interested in or want to know is obviously a more preferable option than complex theories and mind-boggling equations.
However, there are times when it can take over your life. In their 2010 publication on procrastination, Durham Counselling Services identified
the main ways in which we procrastinate, breaking them down into categories including pleasurable tasks, socialising, distractions, low priority tasks and daydreaming. They believe “what tends to distinguish more general ‘putting-off’ or ‘delaying’ from a more serious procrastination
problem is how bad the negative consequences are that follow the procrastination.”
There’s no real reason for procrastination, apart from having to complete an unpleasant task but human nature does play its part. It’s free will; no one likes to be pressured and when hit with a time-limit, we panic and procrastination rears its many-sided face as a defence mechanism, or just sheer defiance. There is the theory that people work better under pressure and when it really hits home that your deadline is so tantalizingly close you can actually count the hours, procrastination is no longer a viable option and we’re driven to suck it up. Whether this applies to all is doubtful.
Let’s face it: Procrastination is like Primark; full of rubbish with the occasional gem. It’s so easy to find a million things to fill your basket with that you’ll probably never wear but it’s too tempting to resist. Likewise, filling
our time with trivia and activities we enjoy may not always be valuable, but what’s the harm if we know that when the time comes, we will get it done?
Optimistic maybe, but there’s some value in procrastination, as it can clear all immediate distractions so that one can focus. Plus there’s always that silver lining in the rare occasion when you can transform your ‘learning’ from procrastination into something applicable to the task in hand, making that ‘time wasting’ productive after all. That means we can stay on Facebook a little longer, right?
By Matilda Barr and Michelle Wray
It’s that time of the year again… the library fills up, books are unavailable,
and stress levels rise as the exams draw closer. To prepare you for the exams indigo has some tongue-in-cheek etiquette tips.
In the library:
1. Learn how to use the swipe machine: queuing behind someone who hasn’t figured out by third term that you have to swipe your card the right way up is just plain annoying.
2. Justin Bieber blasting through headphones is not ok. We get that you do sociology
but people doing real subjects don’t appreciate yet another accoustic version of Baby.
3. Just because your Blackberry
isn’t playing its usual rendition of Adele’s latest anthem does not mean we can’t hear an effective power drill every time you get a text. Vibrate and silent. Definitely not the same thing.
4. “No way! And then she said? OMG. NO WAY!” I’m sure whatever Pete got up to last night with Antonia is a most engrossing topic. But whispering
louder than actually talking at normal volume is great way to get the whole room to stare meaningfully in your direction. We don’t care whether the old time dilemma of the ex-boyfriend and the best friend is socially acceptable, we just want to get back to our post-modern art history theories!
In the exam hall:
1. Don’t get ill. Then you won’t distract others by coughing and blowing your nose. Stock up on every form of cold and flu medicine available
at Boots to be sure.
2. Don’t look at other people. Then if you see someone cute you won’t distract yourself for the next three hours trying
to catch their eye.
3. Don’t be a mouth breather. This goes well with No.1 because
a blocked nose will do that to you.
4. Don’t tap. If possible don’t listen to any music up to a week before. Then you won’t have any beats stuck in your head that could come out subconsciously.