Perfect Procrastination

Behind all this great work ethic and good intentions is the reality of the situation: however you dress it up, revision sucks. To stop those exam angsts, distraction is key to sanity. Lifestyle Editor Fiona Callow provides some perfect procrastination tips for escaping the boredom of work.

9th May 2016

Let’s all be real about revision for a moment shall we? Sure, we’re pretty much all working hard these coming  weeks and months, but we all know those two types of people in exam period who are the anthesis of each other: one is rolling in at 5am, rip-roaringly drunk, and seen only at 5pm the next day, nursing a strong cup of coffee and an equally strong hangover, moaning about having to pull and all-nighter to finish the assignment they were given 3 months ago. And then the other: those ‘holier-than-thou’ types who tuck themselves in bed at 9pm with a cup of chamomile tea and a quaint Disney film on in the background, with the intention of getting to the Robbo at 9am sharp, pursing their lips when you tell them you might just work at home. Both these types are equally as abrasive during exam period and I call for a happy medium to the revision process. The phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ has been so overused that it’s practically nonsensical, but there’s some truth in it, however cliche it may be. You cannot possibly be in the library 12 hours a day, all week, every week without any form of human contact, you’ll go as mad as Tom Hanks in Castaway and start calling your inanimate posessions ‘Wilson’. Nor can you be out every night without a) your liver giving up on you and violently rejecting any alcohol you give it, and b) failing your degree and slinking home with your tail between your legs. You can gurantee that both types, as much as they seem to be doing too much or too little, are actually doing either sufficient to pass, or aren’t doing as much work as they claim and should stop trying to make the rest of us feel bad because we’re ‘boring’ or ‘lax’. So let’s all admit it: we all do work, and we all don’t, and it really does depend on what kind of mood we’re in as to which type of extreme we lean towards. Therefore, procrastination is a healthy and natural part of the revision process, but it doesn’t have involve looking at cat videos on YouTube or buying something you can’t afford. So without further ado, here’s a few helpful pointers on how to maximise that time you spend prostinating, so that at least you can say you’ve had fun, even if you’ve left your disseration on the backburner for a couple of hours.


Lunch can be something that very much defines the success of your day and maintainence of your mood, (or is that just me?). If you’ve had a measly lunch of  a hotchpotch of the leftovers in your fridge that are going out of date, it hardly sets you up for an afternoon of productive work. Equally, spending money at the library cafe for snacks throughout the day can be just as unsatisfying. The best thing to do to beat the crushing sense of  the library swallowing you whole like you’re stuck in the Matrix, or a never-ending cycle of Groundhog Day, is to physically leave the library. You can either check out the numerous cafes that Newcastle has to offer, because spending money feels more worthy when you actually make an occasion out of it, right? Or alternatively, and  perhaps more economically viably, make lunch and eat it outside, to catch some rays and escape the aura of panic that the Robbo has at this time.


The worst thing you could possibly do when you’re deep into exam period is cut off all ties to the outside world and become effectively a recluse from society. We all have that flatmate who disappears off the grid, seems to forgo all social media and becomes a native of the library. You only catch glimpses of them between the shelves of books, clutching pieces of paper and muttering under their breath strange incantations like they’re an especially fervent extra in Harry Potter. Isolating yourself when others are literally going through the same thing doesn’t really make any sense. Even if it’s just for a good ol’bitch about that annoying mouth-breather sat next to you in the library, a quick coffee with a friend on the way home,  or just a solo trip to the gym, don’t neglect your wellbeing for the sake of work.


The perfect alternative to a boozy night out, this is the way to have fun without the hangover, it’s practically guilt-free, if you don’t count all the sweets you’ll probably be scoffing. It’s a great way to socialise without spending money and people might be more up for something that takes up less hours than a night-out eats into. You can match the movie to your mood: if revision has gone badly and you really felt like inflicting major harm on the rahs braying in the library cafe and greeting practically everyone in the place like they’re in a signet-ring sect, then you can instead watch fictional characters beat the stuffing out of each other. Or perhaps you’ve had enough of the doom and gloom of revision hell, and a twee rom-com is what’ll lift you from the pits of despair. Also, setting aside time to watch TV could prevent you from binging in the daytime on those shitty but addictive Netflix series, and maximise revision time.


Literally. Take a hike. Go for a walk. Get out of your stuffy room that smells like fear and last night’s congealing takeaway and clear your head. Fitness mags , surveys and scientists always say that 20 minutes of exercise a day is good for your general health, and even naysayers have to admit that you do feel better when you can see better views than that of four walls. Even if it’s not part of your ‘#gains’ at the gym, doing some sort of physical activity is so much better than taking a break by staring at another form of screen. Whether it be strolling through the balmy haven of Jesmond Dene or striding down Quayside, Newcastle is a pretty scenic place. If you don’t feel like you time to take out of your day, instead incoperate it into your routine, and get up 5mins earlier to walk to uni instead of taking the Metro.


What better way to waste time than to plan your next summer adventure. Whether it be an Asian adventure, your classic Thailand trip, a foray around Europe, a ski season or even further afield, having something to look forward to is the ultimate incentive to keep going those extra few weeks. There’s nothing more satisfying than bombarding all your Insta-followers with envy-inducing shots of beaches, cocktails and your classic hugging an elephant pic of course. Also, it’s definitely easier to plan a holiday than to plan life after graduation, right? The danger is, however, that you’ll get swept up in watching numerous travel videos and trawling through all of the blog posts ever written on said destination, and consequently forget all about your actual work, but hey, if you fail your degree you can always pack up and hitchhike your way around the world... what could possibly go wrong?

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