What you’re actually doing when you should be studying

graphic: Rhea Braun

graphic: Rhea Braun

Do you have a long essay due tomorrow that you’ve held off doing for a week? Do you only have two hours to review for a test that you’ve known about since Monday? If so, then you, fellow PHS student, are suffering from a self-inflicted condition known as procrastination. Easy to diagnose and difficult to treat, procrastination is something that most of us suffer from. Although it takes many forms, here are just a few of the things you may find yourself doing, consciously or subconsciously, when procrastinating.   

Judging people’s tweets:

Frequently I find myself checking Twitter and judging the people who tweet instead of doing work. Sure, there are some funny tweets and informative updates from Principal Gary Snyder, but that is only the ten percent. And not to sound arrogant, but beyond that, I don’t need to read a tweet and know if you made a sandwich, love a vaguely famous boyband, or are able to quote Mean Girls. My best option is to deactivate my Twitter, but I sure will miss those @PHS_Snyder tweets.


Let’s be honest here—the best television shows are the ones that are no longer airing. Thus, to kill time, I find myself watching seasons upon seasons of many old television series, from Breaking Bad to 30 Rock, a personal favorite. And as unhealthy it may be for my sanity and schoolwork, I will not only watch these episodes, but also rehearse some parts line-by-line as if I were in a satanic cult. I guess that’s what Netflix does to people.


Several times I’ve said to myself, “Just sleep for one hour and study later,” and several times this plan has utterly failed. One time, I tried napping at two in the morning when I was exhausted but had a history test to study for. So I set an alarm for two hours and lay down on a couch so as not to get too comfortable. Two hours later, I heard my alarm, woke up, threw my history textbook on the ground, trudged up a flight of stairs, and flopped in my bed. Moral of the story: don’t nap. Sleep.


It would take more than 1000 years to watch every YouTube clip ever, so why not cover a few while not working? This video-sharing website contains millions of things to watch, all submitted by regular users, so the viewing possibilities are endless. From cat videos to viral hits, you can watch almost anything on the site—maybe even a Khan Academy video to inspire you to study.


If you’re a person who procrastinates, chances are you have cluttered up your time and schedule. If you fail to organize most of your things on a daily basis, your house or room is probably not as clean as it could be. Whether it be casually rearranging things or obsessively trying to sterilize every object, at least you save yourself some time from doing whatever assignment you chose not to do.

Other work:

When I look at a large assignment, I turn to other work that may be easier and less time-consuming: working papers, extra credit, and applications. Completing tasks like these make me feel like I’ve at least accomplished something when trying to accomplish nothing.

Surfing the rest of the web:

Although YouTube is fun, you still have the rest of the electronic world to explore. The Internet is huge—much larger than just specific sites like Facebook and Twitter, so it would obviously be a good place to start in your quest to procrastinate. Have you ever wondered how to tie a tie, how much a coat hanger costs, or if Elvis Presley had a twin? Search it up, and find yourself at the threshold of a world of useless facts.


Even if I’m not bored and am not procrastinating, I still look for something to eat simply because I can. The dilemma I face is that there are so many things I could cook … if I knew how to cook. My appetite as a swimmer always seems take control of me when I am bored. So, go ahead and try to make that sandwich—you’ll need a satiated appetite to finish your essay.

Look at the clock. Have hours seem to have just flown out the window? Now look at what you are doing right now. Are you partaking in any of the aforementioned activities? If so, then you, my friend, are procrastinating. Although it is hard to tear yourself from whatever you are doing and get back to work, you must if you have any hope of getting some shut-eye before dawn. The first step in ending your procrastinating is to accept it: if you’re not doing much but looking at your project, feeling discouraged on the inside, and trying to find something else to do, step back, then take a deep breath, sign off of Facebook, and tell yourself that you will take no more ‘breaks’ until this project is done. Now stop reading this and get to work!