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Sound Writing

Subsection 10.3.2 Productive Procrastination

Procrastination is especially easy when there’s an easily accessible distraction we can use to put off work. Some of the most common distractions are social media, imageboard websites, phone or computer games, TV, and socializing. Sometimes, though, the tasks we perform to procrastinate seem important, and this is called productive procrastination. Symptoms of productive procrastination include cleaning, doing less-intimidating homework, sending emails, or otherwise taking care of day-to-day tasks that are important but that are clearly not urgent. One way of assessing whether you’re allocating your time well is to use a the flowchart below. If there’s anything on your plate that falls into the top box, do that first. The hard part to remember is to do the middle box after that. The categorization into urgent and not urgent is useful, but the nature of time means that anything that’s important and not urgent will soon be both important and urgent! Not procrastinating means taking care of stuff in the middle box whenever you can, especially before it moves into the top box. Thinking in terms of both importance and urgency is a good way to stay out of the trap of feeling productive by doing less important or less urgent work.
This is a simple decision-making matrix for prioritizing assignments. The first arrow reads "The task is…" and an arrow that reads "High priority" points up while an arrow that reads "Low priority" points down. The "Low priority" arrow goes to a box that reads "Assignments that you’d like to do but that you don’t have to do." From the high priority arrow, there is another option: an arrow pointing up reads, "and urgent" and an arrow pointing down reads "and not urgent." The urgent arrow points to a box that reads "Assignments worth a lot of points and due soon" and the not urgent arrow points to a box that reads "Assignments worth a lot but not due soon."

Productive Procrastination Practices.

  • Work on Citations
  • Take the this Buzzfeed quiz 1  to figure out what kind of writer you are!
  • Type up your notes/evidence
  • Make to-do lists
  • Make an assignment timeline
  • Organize your documents/make a folder for your research
  • Look at classes for next semester
  • Make a good essay-writing playlist on Spotify
  • Go to the dining hall and get something healthy but good to snack on
  • There’s a huge “study” genre on YouTube. Go watch a couple videos to get inspired!
  • Make some coffee/tea to get you in the (writing) mood
  • Explore and familiarize yourself with the Sound Writing online guidebook (good job!)
  • Make a writing appointment at the tutoring center!