The Power of Beneficial Procrastination

By Alexandre Darche

You have a dozen or so deadlines to meet in the next week. You set up to get some work done. You check your emails. You clean your room. You download that new album your friend recommended. Two hours have passed, reality kicks in, you catch yourself checking the freshest memes on Facebook and you haven’t even touched the assignment that’s due tomorrow.

Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Procrastination hits us at our weakest. When we’re swamped with work and up to our heads in stress, it finds a way to inadvertently put us in a stranglehold and pull us under. There’s no way to avoid it, but there is a way to trick it into benefitting us a bit better in the long run.

Standing out to an employer in a sea of highly qualified individuals is seemingly so difficult; building a unique, sometimes out-of-the-box toolbelt of qualities has never been so important. While getting that 4.0 GPA may seem to many as a priority at this, it is worth bulking up other aspects of life with hobbies and projects.

Hobbies liberate people of the sometimes mundane nature of schoolwork, allow them to take on projects at their own pace, and build skills that both interest them and may be useful in the future.

A lot of people have hobbies, but rarely do people see the direct benefits they are reaping from it. If you have a hobby, identify what skills you are developing. Some hobbies have obvious career benefits, like restoring a car if you want to go into automotive engineering. Others have less obvious benefits: woodworking could be a way of showing your attention to detail and familiarizing yourself with manufacturing methods. If watching Netflix is a hobby of yours, the skill you gain might be “binge watching a season in a day.” If the skills you are developing don’t stand out as qualities you can put on a CV, finding another hobby may be more beneficial.

But what if you don’t have a hobby (or need a new one)? Simply find one! Everyone has different interests, but there are literally thousands of things you can do. If you enjoy music, try your hand in making music, learning an instrument, DJing even! If you enjoy writing, try your hand at writing articles for a campus paper (maybe even the Plumber’s Ledger!) If you enjoy cooking… well, you get the idea.

To combat the destructive nature of procrastination, you need to turn to this hobby whenever you feel the settle onset of procrastination. While you may not be getting the schoolwork done, you’ll be, not only doing something you genuinely enjoy, not only building skills and projects your future self will one day thank you for, but coming back to your initial work load feeling relieved and creatively refreshed, approaching the challenge from a different angle.

Author’s note: I wrote this entire article while procrastinating studying for ODEs.

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