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Subsection 10.3.3 Procrastination Versus Self-Care

Good time management is a form of self-care because it makes it possible to balance activities and commitments that you care about without compromising your mental, physical, and emotional health. Because it’s easy to associate not doing work with procrastination, it can be difficult to tell the difference between taking a necessary mental break and procrastinating. So what’s the difference?

Distinguishing Procrastination from Self-Care.

Self-care is crucial; procrastination activities are not. It’s the difference between getting enough sleep versus making time for a Netflix episode. If you’re not making time for the baseline things you need to be healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally), chances are the extra “fun” things you are creating time for aren’t self-care, but procrastination.
Each of us will have different ways of “recharging our batteries” but the point of self-care is that it does recharge and rejuvenate—procrastination sucks energy and leaves guilt. Check yourself: do you actually feel rejuvenated after your break, or do you feel worse about yourself than when you started?
Trying to do things that “recharge your batteries” rather than that leave you feeling guilty about your break is a good way to decide whether a non-work activity is an important break. If you’re probably going to be in a better mental, physical, or emotional state to be productive after you take a break to do something, chances are it’s self-care, not procrastination.
List 10.3.2. Strategies for Practicing Self-Care
  • Sleep enough.
    Sleeping 6 hours or less a night on a regular basis has similar effects on cognition as the kind of sleep deprivation that is routinely used for interrogation and torture. If you’re so sleepy you’d confess to a crime you didn’t commit, you’re in no shape to write a paper anyone wants to read.
  • Eat well and exercise.
    Yes, even if you’re busy! You don’t have to be a gym rat—just eat something green and take a walk!
  • Acknowledge and name your feelings as they happen.
    You could keep a journal, write a gratitude list, talk with a therapist, etc. Humans are emotional creatures, and recognizing those emotions and the impact they have on you is important—not just for your productivity, but for the rest of your life as well.
  • Prioritize what you must do, and then build in time for what you need to do for your well-being before filling your time with other commitments.
  • Be intentional in using your time.
    When you’re stressed, you tend to do things mindlessly. Your time is valuable, so spend it on what matters.