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Making procrastination productive

Ahanna Ugorji, sophomore electrical and computer engineering major, plays pick up soccer in Boyden gym on Sunday Nov. 27. (Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

Ahanna Ugorji, sophomore electrical and computer engineering major, plays pick up soccer in Boyden gym on Sunday Nov. 27. (Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

During finals week, and also throughout the school year, procrastination affects us all at some time or another. Maybe you procrastinate daily, like myself, or only procrastinate under stress, also like myself. It’s affecting me right now as I put off writing this and my final paper by cleaning my room and arranging all of my materials prior to exam week. Procrastination is something that all college students experience at one time or another, but it is seen as a bad thing. It is seen as devastating to one’s productivity and a student’s worst nightmare during finals week. But, by trying to take procrastination and turn it into something beneficial, you can still get away with procrastinating and succeeding.

Procrastination can be beneficial in a number of ways, if you procrastinate correctly. No Netflix, no Twitter and definitely no phone. Without these “bad” procrastinators, you are free to procrastinate in much better ways.

It is important to take breaks. It is good to maybe put off writing if you need to get something to eat or want to do something fun with a friend for a little bit. Science shows that taking breaks leads to better learning and better productivity.

It’s also important to practice self-love and give yourself a break. If you’ve been putting off your paper all day, but you spent your day doing things that you love and will cherish, then it’s worth it. Instead of calling off your plans to sit on your computer and surf YouTube or scroll through Twitter for four hours, you went out and did something productive. Social media usage during breaks can actually increase your stress. And now that you did something productive, you can now get to work.

Other ways to filter your procrastination are beneficial activities like cleaning or exercising. Cleanliness in one’s work place has been shown to improve productivity. Getting rid of clutter and dust will allow you to concentrate and feel good as you work. Exercising can make you more alert and give you more energy to complete your assignments. These activities can actually enhance your productivity and help you declutter not only your room or house, but also your mind.

Speaking from personal experience, I believe that procrastination leads to better quality of work, and that more effort is put into my work when I procrastinate. I enjoy working right down to the wire sometimes. I know I shouldn’t, but it gets my adrenaline running and gets me motivated to start my work. Some days, you just need to sleep on your work, get up early the next day, and then get to work. It’s best to know yourself and know what will best help you succeed. If you work well under pressure, know your limits. If you need lots of time to work, know your limits and needs. I have found that I can allow myself some procrastination time through organizing things or doing small, fun activities that has led me to procrastinate less overall. Even though I am no psychologist, I have found that using procrastination in a better way can help alleviate its effects on one’s productivity.

Overall, it is important to know your limits when it comes to procrastination. It is important to know how you work under the stress and pressure that are the results of procrastination. So, this finals week, it’s okay to procrastinate (if you have to), and when you do, make it something a little bit productive. So turn off your phone, clean your room or go for a run, then get to work. You’re only human; give yourself a break. You’ll be thanking yourself later.

Emilia Beuger is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at ebeuger@umass.edu.

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