The five stages of procrastination

All the things you’ll do before you actually do your work. And you’re doing number two right now.

As students we have all done it, put off work until later. We make excuses to ourselves saying things like ‘oh it’ll only take a minute, I can do it tomorrow’ or ‘I’m not in the mood right now, I’ll do it later.’

We’re a breed of students who suffer from a serious disease called perpetual procrastination. But how do you spot the symptoms?

1. Denial

The first reaction you have to starting a piece of work is to simply ignore the problem. How many of you have ever sat down to write an essay you didn’t want to do and then decided against it because actually ‘you don’t really have to do it right now’ and instead of facing the problem you leave the house or hide from the work in the hope that if you can’t see that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you. Sound familiar? Well this is called phase 1…

De Nile is not just a river in Africa..

2. Distraction

While you are hiding from all that work that you should be doing, you will have to find something to occupy your time. What better way than to suddenly decide you absolutely HAVE to tidy your room, and then the rest of the flat/house, and then for good measure why not do a spot of baking?

And of course read The Tab.



Or if you have actually sat down to work, you may suddenly have the urge to go to the bathroom; you will find that the bathroom is far more exciting that you could have ever believed possible! While you’re in there why not get up to date with a little light reading.

The news has never been so interesting!

3.  Justification

Having distracted yourself for long enough you must now justify not working. There are many different ways to justify yourself to yourself, but the best by far is by telling yourself that it’s fine because you still have a week…a couple of days…tomorrow…a few hours…

I've got ages I can do some exercise

I’ve got ages I can do some exercise

I've got ages I can go out

I’ve got ages I can go out

4. Sleep

Having justified not working you now enter phase 4, perhaps the most dangerous of them all…sleep. Having got to the library or learning commons with the intention to start work, you now tell yourself that the work is not urgent and can be done later, you now decide that it is the perfect time to take a nap.

I’ll just have a quick nap. I deserve this.

5. Blind panic and regret

Finally having woken up several hours later to find the library almost deserted, the realisation starts to sink in that your piece of work is due to be submitted the next morning. At this point you freak out and burst into tears, or call up a friend. After your mini meltdown you then pull yourself together in order to do the infamous all-nighter.


Why didn’t I do the work before??

And now it's too late

And now it’s too late

Having hopefully submitted the piece of work you go home for a nice earned rest, so that you are fresh to start the cycle all over again with the next piece of work.