A procrastinator’s guide to studying

Published: May 9, 2011
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Organise: It is hard to find all your notes, past problem sets, highlighters and post-its when your desk looks as if a monkey had been dancing on it. Studying would be very unproductive if you can’t locate the right supplies at the right time, so you start with organising the desk. While doing that, you find a picture of you and your friend from high school at a picnic on the beach. You realise it’s been a while since you called him, so you decide to do that first.

Concentrate: The rainy weather outside is adding to your exam anxiety, and you are already tired after cleaning your desk (and talking to your friend). A steaming cup of coffee will relieve the wariness, hone your concentration and give you a reason to step outside your room. But the cup of coffee you are about to make will look lonely without a cupcake or a cookie. It wouldn’t take long if you quickly went to the nearest grocery store to get a bag of your favourite chocolate chip cookies. Just then, you discover that you’re out of milk, coffee and sugar as well. It’s a sign from God to do the groceries.

Take baby steps: You are on your way back when you realise it’s time for lunch. Just then you run into a classmate who is going to your favourite pizza place to grab a bite. It would be rude if you declined her offer to join jer and you have to eat anyway – why not take a little break with friends?

Get over the hard bit: You are back in the study, and all set. You have your eyes on the prize! You decide to put your laptop away to avoid procrastination. A minute and a half later you tell yourself ‘Well, a little music won’t hurt.’ As soon as you open YouTube for your ‘exam hellfire’ playlist, and play Noori, the suggestion tab shows Noori’s new video. “They got back together? Oh my God!” You have to post it on Facebook and let the world know!

The final stretch: Your back aches after a couple of hours of sitting on the chair reading news, Facebook updates, and watching videos. Exam pressure is kicking in hard now, and you don’t even know the syllabus for the exam. It is a very tough exam. How could the instructor think one day would be enough to prepare? There is no way you can ace it now. You have to call your study buddy, whine for a bit, and get some last minute tips.

Disseminate the wisdom: You’ve wasted a full day before finals – not studying. But you got so much done, no? The room is clean and groceries are done. And you got to learn some really cool techniques to avoid the obvious pitfalls in the exam. Why not blog about it? So you spend another two hours writing a blog entry. You don’t want to stay late and be zoned out early morning in the exam. A good night’s sleep always helps.

Asim Jahangir

Asim Jahangir

An economist by training and a graduate student of Public Policy at Harvard University, who is interested in development problems specially in the fields of education and public service delivery.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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