The four stages of procrastination

Now that midterms are over, students at Fresno State are in the final stretch of the fall semester.

That dreaded final stretch means things like prepping for cumulative exams, presentations and group projects. Students are feeling the pressure now more than ever, and that means that procrastination is even more present in the lives of the student population here at Fresno State.

Procrastination comes with being human and is completely unavoidable, and it seems as though it comes in stages, making a slow-burning attempt at chipping away at one’s productivity, until the motivation to succeed is taken away and replaced by only Cheeto dust and your Netflix password.

It begins with being assigned that big project or given the date of your next exam. You make your way over to the library in the early afternoon, armed with your coffee and lunch, ready to concentrate on your work and blaze a path to success and then it happens – procrastination strikes.

Stage one of procrastination starts with walking through the library looking to find the perfect spot. You try every part out, from the quiet section all the way to the third floor, only to decide you want to sit by the windows overlooking the peace garden, right by the woman basket weaving.

You think she’ll help you concentrate. You’re wrong. You instead watch her basketweave for half an hour, even though you’ve seen this entire process from start to finish from all of the other times you’ve procrastinated.

You did, however, manage to set all of your things out, so let’s give credit where credit is due.

Now that you’ve got all of your ducks in a row and your laptop, textbook and highlighters all ready to take notes, stage two of procrastination starts to set in. You realize you haven’t checked Facebook and Twitter in a while.

You decide to check up on all of the people you graduated high school with. Where are they now? How many kids do they have? Are they also in the library having an existential crisis and creeping on your Facebook page as a means to prolong having to do work?

Suddenly you’re in stage three and you don’t even realize it. You decide after an hour-long Facebook stalk session, it’s time for more coffee. You bump into your childhood best friend at Starbucks and figure what better time than the present to catch up? You each share your deepest hopes and dreams, you decide to prolong your quick Starbucks meeting into a full-blown teppanyaki dinner. The cook even did an onion volcano. How are you supposed to focus on any work when there’s an onion volcano?

Finally, stage four. You pack all of your things, knowing that you didn’t do as much work as you knew you should have. But you resolve that you’re going to do it all at home, no distractions, all business. You get home and realize your dinner was not enough. You curl up with your textbook and a bowl of Cheeto puffs, only to realize there’s an unwatched episode of “Real Housewives” saved on your DVR.

The housewives are a gateway drug. You decide to burn through the last few episodes of “Lost” on Netflix and update your Tumblr blog. You also decide to take up knitting.

And through those four stages, nothing gets done. Your project group text is exploding with questions and concerns, but your solution is putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb.” You are nowhere near prepared for your cumulative test, but that’s okay. You’ve finally given yourself the mental health day you’ve deserved for so long.

Sometimes, it’s okay to procrastinate. Like all wonderful and indulgent things, please remember to procrastinate in moderation. Lazy days are great but so are passing grades.

In these final weeks leading up to the end of the semester, may the curve be in your favor and may your due dates be kind.

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