A guide to reduced-guilt procrastination

There comes a time during RRR Week when every student finds himself or herself in a moral quandary: to study or, perchance, to browse GIFs on Tumblr for three hours? Even the best of us may suffer from a severe aversion to studying from time to time.

Still, we urge you to be weary of age-old sources of procrastination — a prolonged Pinterest binge can quickly result in greater levels of stress and anxiety even before you begin studying. For your psychological well-being, we’ve compiled a list of reduced-guilt procrastination options.

1. Work out!
Face it: That Cherry Garcia from Ben & Jerry’s is not making your problem set any easier. Put down the pint, put on your track shoes and get your butt to the RSF. It’s never too late in the semester to invest $10 in your health. As an added bonus, you can review notes while on the stationary bicycle or elliptical machine. A 1981 Harvard study found that regular exercise immediately improves mood and alleviates depression. Plus, taking a break to break a sweat gives your tired mind a chance to refuel. What more could you ask for in terms of productive procrastination?

2. Call your family!
You may be spending the whole month of winter break “trapped” in a house with your parents, but it’s never too early to fill mom and pop in on your life and well-being. If you can’t reach for your books, reach for your phone and give home a call. Even better: Call your grandparents! You’re bound to get brownie points, potentially some life wisdom and, undoubtedly, the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that someone cares about you. Sure, studying is important, but family ties are stronger than any covalent bond in your chemistry textbook.

3. Clean your place!
While your dirty dishes and smelly laundry are probably not the main cause of RRR Week stress, having a messy room or apartment is certainly no help. Take a break from studying to tidy up the workspace around you. Organize loose papers, toss out unwanted clutter or pair up some socks. Any improvement in your work environment can help to relieve stress and knock off tasks on that to-do list. Just don’t embark on heavy-duty cleaning. Getting started on a huge organizing project could divert your attention from studying for too long.

4. Make the switch to bMail.
Unless you were an incoming student this semester, chances are you’re still using CalMail. You’ve received emails about upgrading to bMail, but you put them off and eventually forgot about it all together. That final you have on Monday during the 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. block? It can wait. Our digital age demands a functional and actually organized email account. So stash your notes and sign off Facebook. It’s time to transfer your files and come into the modern world. You can’t help it if you have to take some time before you immerse yourself in your books!

5. Go on TED.com!
What could be better than simultaneously wasting time and indulging in your inner geek? If you haven’t already, take the time to explore the wonderful world of TEDTalks, which has an abundance of videos streamed online from the two annual TED conferences. Prepare for the ultimate exposition of everything you didn’t know, ever. With more than 1,400 videos to choose from, TED is the cerebral procrastinator’s dream and the ultimate time-sucker. Luckily, this guilty pleasure comes complete with a guarantee of feeling productive — you’re still expanding your knowledge!

Contact Boni Mata & Ione Sterental at [email protected] and [email protected].