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Posted Jan. 24, 2014

How to Productively Procrastinate as a Postgrad

If  you are feeling guilty about procrastinating on your postgrad work, you can greatly improve the situation by using this time productively. Here are a few suggestions for how you can do this:

Don’t Feel Guilty about Procrastinating The most unproductive thing you can do while procrastinating is to spend it feeling guilty. It wouldn’t be so bad if feeling this way encouraged you to take action but guilt can completely sap your motivation. So long as you make good use of your time while procrastinating, there is no need for you to feel guilty anyway.

Find Something Equally Important to Do With Your Time If you are not in the mood for written work, you could use this time to do some research or other important task related to the project. If you are tired of reading, you might want to focus your attention on something like your thesis proposal . Switching to a different task means you can still be doing something important. It can also be worthwhile to use this time to create a study plan, so you can be more productive when your mojo returns.

Take a Break if You Need It If you have been pushing yourself too hard recently, this inability to focus on work may be your brain’s way of telling you that you need a break. It is important to be able to spot the signs of stress due to a heavy workload – if you keep on pushing, you could easily end up burning-out. Taking a break from your studies can be a productive use of your time because it allows you to recuperate. You should never feel guilty about taking a needed rest or devoting time to activities to help you deal with stress .

Plan Your Procrastination If you want to be as productive as possible while procrastinating, you need to have some type of plan. Decide what you are going to do with this time - even if you are just going to spend it relaxing. If you don’t have a plan for using this time, you could just waste it on things that are not really benefiting you at all (e.g. surfing online out of boredom). The other benefit of thinking about what you are going to do with this period of procrastination is it makes you feel more accountable for using it wisely.

Think About Your Future It is easy to lose sight of the big picture when you focused on getting the work done for your master’s degree or PhD studies. You can use this time to think about your future, and to remind yourself how all this hard work is going to benefit you later on. This time of reflection can be very beneficial if it rekindles your motivation and helps you to regain some focus. It can also give you the opportunity to assess your progress and develop new strategies for the future (e.g. you may decide to take extra classes in a subject related to your intended career).

Keep Away from Unproductive Uses of Your Time The old saying ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’ is a warning against using this period of procrastination for unproductive pursuits. If you don’t have something constructive to do,you may end up doing things that actually negatively impact your life – this would include actions like spending your food budget on a night out on the town or comfort shopping. There is always going to be something productive you can do with this time, and you are going to feel better for using it to do something positive.

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