Five ways to make procrastination productive

June 07, 2016
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The end of the semester has finally arrived which means endless Netflix, Facebook memes and Instagram scrolling instead of studying for your final exams. Procrastination couldn’t possibly be productive, right? Wrong.

Sure studying for finals is the worst, but there are things you can do to procrastinate that will ease the pain of getting the results back from the exam you are currently ignoring. Procrastination doesn’t have to mean dropping out of university to become a stripper. In some cases, it can be more helpful for your future than the extra few marks you might pick up from telling yourself you can multi-task crime documentaries and reading your notes.  


This is an absolute no brainer but is probably the hardest to do on the list. If you can’t seem to bring yourself to do any work and struggle just to open a word document, then get away from the desk. Do some push-ups. Buy a skipping rope. Dance in the living room. It doesn’t really matter how seriously you take your exercise. All that matters is that there is movement to manually shake the cobwebs from your brain.

Worst case scenario - you fail a subject but have buns of steel for summer.


I’m no expert on meditation, but if half of the articles you read online about the amazing benefits are true, then it might just be the best method of procrastination that will actually improve your exam results. Meditation can help you focus when you eventually cram and can improve your emotional wellbeing to prevent a pre-exam breakdown. Studies have also found there is a positive link between meditation and memory, which can be handy for remembering info during the exam. Sign me up.

Worst case scenario – you only scrape a pass but you reach spiritual Nirvana.

Read the news

Reading one real news article for every Kardashian story or Game of Thrones review could mean your endless hours of procrastination were not wasted. Knowing what is going on in the wider world is beneficial to your professional future and will help you in awkward arguments with relatives about ‘those damn immigrants’ if you’re armed with the facts.

Worst case scenario – you fail the exam but it doesn’t matter because global warming and Trump becoming president is going to kill us all anyway.

Fish for internships at your dream job

Rather than stalking millionaires on Instagram, look to see if their company offers internships. Instead of just dreaming about the ideal job, whether that involves the high roller life, saving the planet or working in an exotic city like Paris, have a look and see if there is a front office you can visit, a liaison’s phone number you can call or an internship application on your dream job’s website.

Worst case scenario – you fail a subject but have become so used to rejection from your dream jobs that your resilience is sky high.

Write an article for an online publication

Employers might not care about the difference between a 70 and a 60 in your psychology exam, but they might be intrigued by a feature you wrote about procrastination that gets published. Adding to a portfolio of work can be a huge boost when looking for internships.

It’s a bonus if you’re looking for employment straight out of uni and you’re up against those insane students who won’t procrastinate from their exams. This isn’t limited to just arts and media students, a portfolio can be useful no matter what your future career is.

Worst case scenario – you only get that 60 on the exam but you get a boost of confidence from all those Facebook likes on your article.

Darcy Munce

Darcy is a Journalism student at UNSW who can be found either watching American sport or '90s sitcoms. He dreams of one day anchoring at ESPN with enough downtime to re-watch Scrubs for the thousandth time.

Image: Justine Reyes, Flickr Creative Commons license