Why it’s okay to procrastinate

Melissa Wilson procrastinates in order to explain how procrastination can lead to new things.


Hi, my name is Melissa and I’m a serial procrastinator. As I write this article I have two major assessments looming over me, with a 12,500 word group assignment due tomorrow thrown in for good measure. Before you start feeling sorry for me, I assure you I’ve known about these assignments since the start of the semester. And I’m currently travelling along a road between two towns I like to call ‘YOLO they’ll get done’ and ‘Holy crap I’m going to fail, get me out’.

The phenomenon I describe here is unfamiliar to no student, whether school or university, undergrad or PhD; it’s of course known as procrastination. Such an ugly word, isn’t it?

Between getting up to look in the fridge for what feels like the 50th time and triple checking if the census date has passed, (it’s week 8 Mel, you’re kidding yourself), I remind myself that I’m in my last year of a 3 year degree. I’m PRO at this by now, in fact I think when I graduate, they’ll hand me a certificate that reads: Melissa Wilson, Bachelor of Procrastination, complete with honours and a distinction average.

Of course, I’m not alone in my pursuit of useless tasks in the name of putting off an assignment, and that’s what feels so great. I can rationalise my need to learn how to crochet and in turn complete an entire crochet blanket before the winter is over because I know I’m not alone. Do I want to know how to create the perfect eyebrow? Not really, but I’ve spent hours on YouTube learning how.

UoN student Beth Carson is very familiar with bouts of intense procrastination. During a creative lull whilst writing a speech for a major assessment, Beth turned to baking.

“I decided the only means of overcoming writer’s block was through procrasti-baking a rainbow Death Star cake for a friend’s birthday.”

In case you are wondering what a rainbow Death Star cake entails, Google it. Now.

And yes, Beth was successful.

The point is, procrastination shouldn’t always be seen as unproductive. Students can discover hobbies, passions and money-making tactics in moments of procrastination. Another UoN student, Samantha Long, says she took to sewing sequins on bras during her HSC, “I considered selling them at markets for $40 a pop”, says Samantha.

So while we don’t suggest you apply for adverse circumstances because you’ve spent the night before a big due date playing X-box, we encourage a healthy enthusiasm towards study breaks, spending procrastination days delving into an interest you’ve never quite pursued or finishing off a half-done project. Or better yet, get procrasti-baking!



Image: Ariana Escobar, Flickr, no changes made

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