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What’s procrastination? I’ll tell you tomorrow

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 What’s procrastination? I’ll tell you tomorrow. By Eden Milne, July 2015.

In need of a solid argument for embracing your procrastinating? Read on, it’s the stuff (student) dreams are made of. Feel free to go put the kettle on or organise your sock drawer first, or course.

I don’t know about you but I’m the queen of procrastinating. With deadlines, essays…all that boring stuff that takes about 4 coffees to get you started. But as much as I love a Netflix marathon, or starting Sopranos all over again, that little guy called guilt strangles me near to death every time.

I graduated from my MSc in psychology last year, and I’ve no idea how I managed it. I would start assignments 48 hours before they were due and put in minimal effort. Then the rush of adrenaline would take over. Was I on drugs? Essays would materialise in front of me, and I’d sit there amazed that I’d made the deadline. But unless caffeine is a drug, I was clean.

I always planned to be more prepared, why couldn’t I manage that? Once the guilt set in, it would take over and control my thoughts, feelings and behaviour. I‘d think I was a failure for not starting, feel low and disappointed in myself, and do just about anything to avoid facing up to my goal.

Little did I realise that I’d go on to study the connection of all of this in more depth, and come to learn I’m not alone. I’m currently doing my diploma in CBT. I can hear you thinking, why did I go back to education where there are deadlines, assignments and expectations? Well apparently I love the rush.

Do you ever put stuff off and then allow yourself to be plagued by guilt? Is there something to do to fix this? Working in cognitive behavioural therapy, I could probably ramble on about worksheets and different tools we use, but I recently came to a realisation myself and thought I’d share it.

I call it my reward system, start small and work up. I do 15 minutes of work, then it’s time for a cuppa and a 45 minute episode of something. I find as I go on and get stuck into my essay, 15 minutes turns into 45, then an hour, and… you catch my drift. Why allow this measly feeling of guilt to ruin my day, month, life? Now I know compromising with myself is just what I need to do, and stuff gets done.

I don’t expect to ever stop procrastinating, but I don’t plan on letting unhelpful thinking move in again. My house is never neater than when I’ve got a deadline, and right now I’ve got 5000 words on depression to write so I’ve just done one hell of a Spring clean.

Let’s not allow feelings of guilt to take over and eat you alive, because what fun is that!? If procrastinating is what you do, embrace it! Being able to acknowledge this behaviour and use it to your advantage is strength in yourself! There are different roads to the same destination, take the one that suits you best!

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