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5 honest reasons to stop procrastinating

By Andrea 10 Apr 2019
Student studying productively in cafe.

It’s 1.00am. I’m into the mildly delirious phase of fatigue and 2756 words into a 5000 word assignment that’s worth 70% of my overall grade and is due in less than 48 hours.

I’m also currently cutting my toenails because, in an act of self-sabotage, the science behind which I will never quite understand, by brain is determined to entice me into doing absolutely anything that is not my assignment.

I’d like to say that this is the first time I’ve found myself awake in the wee hours trying to pump out an assignment I should have started weeks ago, but if I’m honest, this is pretty much the story of my entire degree. Every time I tell myself it will be different. Every time I sit down a few weeks out from the due date or a month or two before my exam all set to make a serious dent in the workload, I end up online shopping or ‘tripping and falling’ into a whole season of something extremely B-grade on Netflix.I’d like to say that this is the first time I’ve found myself awake in the wee hours trying to pump out an assignment

So, in another form of procrastination that I’m telling myself is at least mildly productive, I’ve decided to share with you the reasons why you shouldn’t do exactly what I’m doing right now and leave your uni work until the last minute. Whether it’s an assignment you’re avoiding or exam prep you just can’t face, take my advice and save yourself while you still can!

1. It makes everything harder

As if a 5000 word assignment wasn’t already a whopper amount of work, adding a teeny-tiny timeframe to the mix makes it near impossible. You have coursework to revisit, criteria sheets to adhere to, research to do, referencing to complete and then there’s that whole bit about actually, you know, WRITING ALL THE WORDS!

2. Your procrastination activities are never worth it

While I’m overjoyed that the latest reality TV couple has found their life partner, in hindsight it’s information that really could have waited until my giant assignment was squared away. While spending your time on more enjoyable activities feels good in the short term, I guarantee you will end up genuinely hating yourself when you’re staring bleary-eyed at a blank screen wondering why the hell you cared more about the love life of a stranger than you did your own academic future and career progression. Just saying…

3. You become an absolute monster to be around

I’m not proud of the things I’ve said or the way I’ve said them when I’m under the time restraints and mental pressure to complete an assignment or revise for an exam at the last minute. I’m snappy, irrational, constantly on edge and ever aware of the weight of the task I have yet to complete, especially if the worst happens and you lose the little work you have pumped out. It’s like the academic version of being hangry and those around you suffer through absolutely no fault of their own and you feel reeeeeeally guilty about it later. Like, really guilty. Pressing ‘submit’ or leaving your exam room should be a fist-pumping moment of absolute pride

4. You sell yourself incredibly short

The fact is, there’s limits to the amount of academic finesse you can muster after a straight 24 hours or more with your eyes open. You limit your own ability to take in information and do good work simply because you’re so incredibly tired. Pressing ‘submit’ or leaving your exam room should be a fist-pumping moment of absolute pride, but when you’re sending in an assessment item that you know is far short of your best work, it’s hardly cause to celebrate. You end up with a haunting case of the ‘what ifs’ and spend days, if not weeks, sweating your results and wondering what you could have achieved if you’d just given yourself more time.

5. There’s only one way out

Personally, this is the part I struggle with the most. I hate being trapped into a tight timeframe. I hate the late nights and constant pressure. I absolutely hate pumping out work that even I know is bad. But more than all of that, I hate that now there’s absolutely no other option than to live off caffeine and pure self-loathing until it’s finished. No matter how sad, angry, frustrated, furious or absolutely defeated you feel, there’s only one person who can get that assignment done or sit that exam and chances are you’ll feel like doing pretty much ANYTHING else (I genuinely cannot tell you the last time I cared about my toenails before tonight...).

They’re not scientific or peer-reviewed, but these are my reasons to get off your bum and get stuck into your study before it’s too late. Tie yourself to the seat. Reward yourself with some delicious eats and tasty treats. Find someone else to hold you accountable. Just do whatever you need to do to start your assignment before the clock starts ticking down.

Still intent on procrastinating? We have found some ways to put the ‘pro’ in procrastination that will help you get back on track.

Good luck!

Author profile of Andrea