Monday, February 27, 2012

On Procrastination

Oh, the new post at 100 Reasons is fantastic. Fantastic. Go read it if you haven't already.

This part in particular (emphasis mine):
Sitting down and writing is the only way out of graduate school with a degree, but the great difficulty with which so many graduate students approach this task is your first clue (and often their first clue) that they don’t actually like what they are doing. Unfortunately, procrastination simply prolongs their misery.
If you find yourself regularly plagued with the procrastination bug, think about this. Really think about it. Are you really just "lazy" (like self-deprecating grad students like to proclaim)? Or do you really, down deep inside, dislike the work you're doing, and that's why you avoid doing it?

It's okay if you do dislike it. I promise. But you need to identify it for what it is ... not laziness, but dislike. Once you label it, you can make an alternative plan and find some work that you will actually like. There are other careers out there other than academia and research. I promise!!!!

Maybe once you have an idea of what work you will actually like (or simply what work you *don't* like), you can break out of that procrastination bubble and get your academic sh*t done, and move onto bigger and better things.

Either way, it's better than trying to force yourself to finish the dissertation or book or whatever that you hate, only to face a looooong career of doing other similar work that you will also hate. Trust me.

Instead of joking about the procrastination, try to think about what it actually means.


  1. Too true! I was never afflicted by the procrastination bug until just this year, when I know now that my heart isn't in it any more. I can't believe all those people who put themselves through it year after year... Get out now if this is you.

  2. I am definitely feeling this right now. I was never a procrastinator as a high school student or an undergrad or at my job but now that I'm in graduate school,I procrastinate on EVERYTHING. Even the most simple and straightforward tasks seem like a huge chore that I can't be bothered to do. My procrastination kills my self-esteem, which then kills my motivation, which then makes me procrastinate. It's a vicious cycle!

    I think it's time to move on...

  3. I've always procrastinated...but at least I got things done eventually. I feel like a fraud here, lying about what tasks I've accomplished...months are piling up.

    1. Yes, this sounds familiar. I think everyone procrastinates a little bit ... but based on basically every single person I've ever met who works in academia, procrastination gets a million times worse in grad school.

      If you're willing to lie about accomplished tasks and you can't motivate yourself to work ... maybe it's worth thinking about if this is really what you still want to be doing? Good luck...