Putting the pro in procrastination

We all do it. Procrastinate. “I’ll start my paper at 8,” I say. Suddenly it’s 8:04 and now I’m starting my paper at 9. Should I start studying now? Come to think about it, all the clothes in my drawers need to be refolded and my desk needs to be cleaned out. Should I work on econ or calc? Actually, you know what, I think I’ll nap, and then decide. We all do it. And what’s the most common route to putting off work as long as possible? The internet and all its many tempting distractions.

Like This, Like That

Facebook isn’t just the social media king; it’s also the king when it comes to procrastination. Whether you’re stalking an ex (come on, we all do it) or seeing what your long-lost pre-school best friend has been up to during the last 15 years, nothing quite compares to the ease and access of social information that Facebook provides. It doesn’t help either that links to many other social media sites, such as Buzzfeed and YouTube, are shared through Facebook, making it the “gateway drug” of social media.

Just One More Cat Video

Coming in at number two is good old YouTube, and understandably so. Who wouldn’t want to waste valuable time watching babies giggling or Jimmy Fallon’s latest Lip Sync battle? With the addition of smart phones, lap tops and tablets to our everyday experience, the latest viral video can be accessed in  just seconds and procrastination is easier than ever.


It’s the latest and greatest: Twitter. Short, sweet and to the point, Twitter refreshes with a new stream of up-to-the-second updates every few minutes. And Twitter has it all: laughs, relatable rants, and up to date news, both globally and socially, making it the easiest way to check in with your social sphere, and also the easiest way to whittle your time away.

BRB, Planning My Wedding

What college girl’s Pinterest is complete without a wedding board? Answer: none. Guaranteed to lower your confidence in your crafting abilities and leave you desiring a far cuter life than you actually lead, nothing will inspire a late night trip to Michael’s quite like Pinterest. That being said, nothing quite eats away valuable time like Pinterest, either.

Buzz Buzz, Ya’ll

Coming in at number five, and my personal favorite, is Buzzfeed. Home of the listicle as well as the scourge of personality quizzes, Buzzfeed is guaranteed to hook you in and keep you clicking for minutes to come. Ever wonder which Disney princess you truly are at heart? Just ask Buzzfeed. Has a desire for a definitive ranking of the most attractive world philosophers been nagging at you for years? Just check Buzzfeed.

Filters Forever

If you didn’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen. Largely responsible for the movement that is the selfie, Instagram remains the only mainstream, picture-only, social media site. With more filters than most people have friends, Instagram allows users to share their carefully constructed photo facades with the rest of the world. Oh, you mean you didn’t actually wake up with a glowing tan and immaculately white teeth? I had no idea, but I will definitely waste a great amount of time looking at your pictures anyway.


Looking for a laugh? Head to Imgur. Looking to do some work? Avoid at all costs. This image sharing website, which allows users to upload and comment on images, is great for relieving stress. It’s also great at wasting time. Lots of memes means lots of procrastination.

Land of the ‘Ships, Home of the GIF

No matter what emotional breakdown you are experiencing, Tumblr has a GIF for that. Need to vent into the cyber sphere about your problems? A vast army of ‘tumblrites’ are ready to listen and respond with carefully crafted GIFs and memes. Perfect for self-expression, not so perfect for getting work done.

Where Has My Life Gone?

Netflix. One word, so many possibilities. Nowhere on the internet is the “next episode” button more dangerous than on Netflix, and nothing else is quite as capable of sucking up large amounts of your time. Netflix is the place where “I’ll just watch one episode to clear my head” becomes “I just spend four hours watching ‘Orange is the New Black’.” My only advice? Run while you still can.

So what is one to do? Sites just begging for your valuable time multiply faster than your Dining Dollars disappear at Pita Pit. Luckily for us, there is hope. With the development of more and more social media and internet sharing sites, so too have developed methods of blocking the brain block. Here are my top five suggestions for avoiding procrastination and getting work done:

  1. SelfControl: This program is really the most basic and straight forward of all the apps designed to help users focus. Users can enter the program, specify a list of sites, and SelfControl will block those sites for a designated amount of time. The only downside: Self Control is only compatible with Mac. However, PC users can use an app called Freedom, which functions similarly, for a cost of $10.
  2. Cold Turkey: It functions similarly to SelfControl. Users block off chunks of time that they desire certain websites to be blocked. Like SelfControl, no reboot, uninstall of the program, or use of Task Manager will allow you access to the designated sites until the amount of scheduled time has passed. And the best part? Cold Turkey comes at a cost of $10, 50 percent of which is donated back to the Against Malaria Foundation, which aims to help install mosquito nets in developing countries. Compatible with Mac and PC users.
  3. Write or Die: Write or Die works by experimenting with various forms of stimuli and enforcement. It comes in three modes: reward, stimuli and consequence. For those users who respond well to positive reinforcement, in reward mode, Write or Die provides a reward, such as a picture of a cute puppy for every so many words typed. Similarly, in Stimuli Mode, users can adjust background music and background images to increase mental stimulation. For those a little more daring, consequence mode provides several forms of “punishment” if a set word count is not reached by the designated time limit, including a program called “kamikaze mode” which, if a goal is not met, will begin removing all of the vowels in your paper. Not for the faint of heart. Compatible with Mac and PC users.
  4. StayFocused: This app works in the opposite way that SelfControl does. Instead of blocking certain sites for designated amounts of time during the day, StayFocused allows you to allot so much time per day to time-wasting sites. Once your allotted time has been used up for the day, the sites will remain blocked until the following day. Available on Google Chrome.
  5. Anti-Social: This app is just like it sounds. When enabled, Anti-Social blocks a set list of sites proven to absorb time that could be spent being productive. Similar to SelfControl, Anti-Social blocks a designated list of sites, of which Facebook and Twitter are blocked by default. Anti-Social is available for $15 and is compatible with both Mac and PC users.

Happy studies, everyone.


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