Thoughts on Procrastination

Procrastination1...I'll get to them later. Just kidding! ;)

I just finished reading The Art of Procrastinationa tiny little book about one philosopher's experience with "structured procrastination," or putting off big tasks in favor of completing small (and frequently insignificant) ones. John Perry, a philosophy professor at Stanford, wittily puts fellow procrastinators to ease about the habit. He also offers tips, such as "horizontal organization" or teaming up with non-procrastinators for projects.

The book is only 92 pages long and Perry's writing style makes the reading go quickly. Although, I have to admit, I set time aside to read this instead of using it to procrastinate.

But it got me thinking about my own procrastination. The level Perry describes in his book makes me anxious. Not meeting deadlines? Just thinking about it makes me tense! I do put things off, but never for so long that I "get behind" or end up asking for extensions.

Thoughts on Procrastinating | Scribbling in the Margins

College doesn't like procrastinators. Every semester a professor wags her finger and says "I don't give extensions! Use your time wisely." I highlight every due date, put them into my planner, and count back how many days it will take for me to complete the assignment. Perry, I have a feeling, would not go to such lengths.

But procrastination doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's a great motivator for me. I do much better work at the last minute than I do when I start early. My favorite papers don't come from a week of writing. They come from frantic writing the morning before the paper is due (always leave time to edit!). I feel more inspired when I'm under pressure to complete an assignment.

Of course, that isn't true for everyone. My friend Hattie finishes things weeks before their due, and does very well on them. She often ends up with more "guilt-free" time than me, but that's okay. We all have our own way of getting things done. That's really what Perry made me think about; procrastinators aren't inherently bad people. They just have a different way of getting things done.

And as long as things get done (and done well), does how they get done really matter?

How do you procrastinate, or does the thought of putting off tasks make you cringe? Any advice for college procrastinators?


Woot woot, Below the Line!

  • If you'd like to see more about John Perry and his book, take a peek at his website!
  • I did a little tweaking on the blog this weekend. See if you can tell what's new!
  • Any of you bloggers? I'd love to check out your blog. Leave a comment below so I can find your site.
  • A corn question: do you eat corn-on-the-cob horizontally, like a squirrel, or all the way around? My family was discussing this yesterday :)

7 Apps that Make College Easier

My iPhone

When I got to college, EVERYONE had an iPhone. And yes, I mean everyone. People walked around with tiny computers in hand, always knowing the instant classes were canceled or when someone wanted to go to Starbucks. Me, I wondered around with a slid-up Samsung, blindly receiving texts only and furiously checking my email on my laptop in the mornings to make sure class wasn't cancelled. I claimed I loved my Samsung, I claimed I would never cave.

And yeah, I caved that January.

I can't say I'm sorry. Yes, sometimes I hate how connected I am all the time (I had to turn off email notifications). Yet it really is helpful to have a sidekick around whenever I need to look something up for class, a meeting, or my homework in the library. I don't tote my laptop around everywhere I go, so my phone often replaces it.

As I've used and worked with my iPhone, I've found a few apps that really make a difference for me at school and for my summer jobs. Here are my favorites for college students:

Reminders. I am an extremely forgetful person when it comes to details. What office is my professor in? When exactly is this research due? Where is my club meeting? Sometimes I even need a reminder just to do something, like email someone a question or bring my laptop to class (and yes, even to wish someone a happy birthday). The pre-installed Reminders app works perfectly as a tool to keep me from forgetting the important things. It will sound an alarm of your choice (mine is vibrate) and flash on the screen just like the clock alarm when you tell it to inform you of a meeting or whatever you needed to remember. Combined with post-it notes and my planner, I now rarely forget anything,

Wunderlist. This is an app that keeps all your to-dos in one place. You can organize them into different categories (work, school, blog) and then set due dates or add notes. Once you finish a task, all you have to do is check it off and it moves to your "completed" section. I use this more in the summer when I'm not looking at my planner 24/7, but it's great as a mobile planner replacement and when I want to keep track of my work assignments for the week.

Evernote. It all started with the old, pre-installed notes app (before the massive overhaul of iOS). I would go to the grocery and pull up my shopping list only to find- NOTHING. My list was gone with the wind, nowhere to be found and I was not happy. So I started researching the best free notes app replacements and Evernote came up. The old versions of this app worked really well for me, keeping my lists neat and in one place. Nowadays it's full of features I don't want, like attachments to your notes, crazy placement in the app, and too many organization options. I still keep my notes in this app, but I have to swim through the extra features sometimes. I've been testing the new version of the Notes app, to see if it won't delete my notes, but for now I place my trust in Evernote.

All the organizing apps, in one convenient location!

"Your Bank Here" App. Wherever your money is, get the app. I can't tell you how many times I've had to frantically check my balance at a restaurant or in the line of the local ice cream place to make sure I had money on my card. I've never had a problem with security on my bank apps and they help me keep track of my spending.

The Weather Channel. Since we're always walking outside, most college students are obsessed with the weather. The first thing I do every morning is check the weather for the day (rain? cold?). Weather in the Midwest is also fickle, so I might need rain boots in the morning and flip-flops in the afternoon. The Weather Channel makes it easy to see the hour-by-hour weather so I can plan out my day.

CNN (or any news app). It's easy to get caught up in reading assignments and the latest parties and forget about the rest of the world happening around you in college. Having a news app remind you of the important things going on in the world keeps you well-informed and ready to apply the real world to what you learn in the classroom. I like CNN because I can get notifications to pop up right on my lock screen, but whatever your preference for news should provide the same option.

Google Drive. Basically the app version of Google Drive, but in a convenient mobile format! Never stop working on that group project, or be the first to sign up for an event. :) I didn't think I would want/need it, but since I've downloaded the app it really has been helpful.

Of course there are many other apps I love, but these are the ones I use as a college student specifically. What apps make life easier for you?