Illustration by Tori Hurlburt
Illustration by Tori Hurlburt

We’ve all been guilty of getting caught up in activities that corrupt our good work and study habits.  Procrastination is like a fast spreading virus infecting the majority of college students across the country, presenting itself as an irresistible form of pleasure like TV watching, aimless web surfing and of course, Facebook.

But what if, in some cases, we aren’t procrastinating at all?  Of course when we aren’t up until the eleventh hour sacrificing the quality of our work to meet the midnight submission deadline, we are probably using our time more wisely than we think.

Instead of labeling ourselves as lazy, or as slackers, let’s look at procrastination as an intentional delay that is both healthy and necessary for productivity.

Here are five words to use instead of “procrastination.”

“I’m not procrastinating, I’m…”

1. Problem Solving

If you’ve ever gone through the creative process, you’ve probably hit some roadblocks at one point or another.  Perhaps you’re frustrated with a drawing, facing a learning curve with a complicated graphic design program or you’re just not sure of what direction to take next.  Give your mind a chance to step back and problem solve and think things through.  Do something you know how to do well.  Something to smooth out that wrinkle that’s developed between your eyebrows.  You’ll come back to your task with a new found energy and a fresh perspective on approaching the problem.

2. Relaxing

Sometimes we just need a mindless rest from it all.  The stress, the daunting deadlines and pressure to meet artistic expectations is a lot to pack in one person’s boat.  There is no shame in taking a timeout and pampering yourself.  How else can we expect ourselves to function when duty calls?  Self-care must come before all other things, especially if we want to produce top quality work.  So watch a movie, have some cheesecake and take it easy.  Sinking is not allowed.
3. Researching

Web browsing with intent is quite productive, even if not directly related to the project you’re taking a break from.  It’s a healthy escape into new content and ideas that could benefit you in the future.  Take some time to look up that DIY project you’ve been dying to try or read up on what your favorite artist is up to these days.  You may even come across something insightful and useful to incorporate into your assignment.

4. Recharging

This form of procrastination is both necessary and unique to each individual. We all get drained, tired and sluggish during the quarter.  Need I mention midterms?  The best way to get your energy back is to do the things that make you feel alive, whether it be going outside to jog or take a walk, meditating, socializing, skateboarding, staying in with a good book or just taking a drive for a change of scenery.  Whatever puts the pep back in your step, make some time for it in your busy schedule.  You’ll be glad you did.

5. Bored…and that’s a good thing

 

Being bored is like being on the verge of greatness.  It’s a thing your brain does when it’s trying to process things you’re not even aware of.  Take this opportunity to try something new.  Boredom doesn’t have to be as bad as staring into space and picking carpet fuzz.  Embrace not knowing what to do and push yourself to experiment and challenge yourself.  The outcome could surprise you.  

So now that we know what we’re actually doing when we’re procrastinating, let’s shake off the guilt of putting that logo design, fashion illustration or short story to the side for a minute.  You might just be doing yourself a favor.