The 7 Stages of Procrastination

It’s reading period, and if you’ve got papers to write, we know that you’re probably going to spend a lot of time procrastinating. At Harvard, when surrounded by overachievers who probably wrote their papers two weeks ahead of time, procrastination can sometimes feel like a dark and lonely place. That’s why Flyby is here to remind you that you are not alone. In fact, we’ll be right here to hold your hand and walk you through each stage.

STAGE ONE: Unfounded Motivation and Confidence
Wow, this is going to be great. I know I only have one night to write, and it might seem like I’m kinda screwed, but it’s totally OK. I’m going to sit down and do it right now. I’ve got this!

STAGE TWO: “Productive” Distractions
Wait, but I need to check my email first. What if there was a change in the assignment? What if my professor needs to reach me? It’s totally important that I look at Gmail.

Twenty new emails? That’s not good. This would be the perfect time to clean out my inbox. It’ll only take a second.

OK, I’m so glad I did that. I feel great. Now I can start writing without all those emails looming over my head.

STAGE THREE: Definitely Not Productive Distractions
Wait, it can’t hurt to check Facebook for a second first, right? Checking my email made me feel so productive.

Hmm, a friend request. What? Who is this person?

Ohhhh. He’s in my lecture. Got it. Okay.

Wow. He’s kind of cute. Wait, I definitely need to look at every picture ever taken of him since the seventh grade.

OK, I definitely know a lot about him now. But that wasn’t really a waste of time. I’m fine. I’ll just get started now.

STAGE FOUR: False Start
I’m just going to open this word document and write an outline. That’s what I’ll do.

Wow, blank word documents are so intimidating.

STAGE FIVE: Extreme and Inexplicable Hunger
I’m starving!! God, when was the last time I ate? Dinner? That was like 3 hours ago. I definitely deserve a snack break….

STAGE SIX: Skewed Perception of Minimal Progress
Yay! I just wrote like half a page. That only took me like ten minutes! I’ve got this in the bag. I can’t believe I was avoiding this for so long. I definitely can take a break and go on Facebook for a second. And maybe grab another snack…

STAGE SEVEN: Panic Mode—When the Real Work Gets Done
Oh, my God! It’s 3 a.m.?! How did that even happen? OK, procrastination over, time to write.

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