COLUMN: Facebook fail sparks procrastination revelation

Marianne Hale

I am the queen of many things, two of which are procrastination and Facebook creeping. So, as I watched my to-do list extend to a nearly unmanageable length last week, I decided to denounce my Facebook throne for a few days in an effort to kick my procrastination habit.

My little experiment started at 9 p.m. Thursday night with a Facebook status update in which I told my friends that I wouldn’t be using the social networking site for three days starting at midnight.

That might not seem like a long time to be without Facebook to some people. But to me, even the thought of not being able to update my status and constantly creep on all of my friends almost made me ill. Almost every time I got on the Internet thereafter, I noticed that I immediately started typing “F-A-C-E-B…” in the address bar just out of habit.

By 10:30 a.m. on Friday, I was certain that I had heard the noise Facebook chat makes when you get a message. That’s when I knew I was going crazy.

But it got easier. So what if I got the urge to update my status or see what someone posted on my wall? This experiment was going to be just what I needed to stop procrastinating. I planned to catch up on my reading for history class, do some reporting for a story I’m working on and get all my homework for Monday done before Monday morning (when I usually scramble to finish everything).

But I didn’t do any of that. Instead, I spent the weekend socializing and sleeping in, and I realized that Facebook isn’t holding me back from productivity. I am.

When Monday morning rolled around, I decided to call upon The Learning Center, located in Room A330 in the Downing University Center. The center provides tutoring and a distraction-free study environment for WKU students. It seemed like a logical place to turn for help with my procrastination predicament.

Caroline Schroder, a graduate assistant who works in TLC, had a few pointers to help me out.

Schroder said time management is difficult for a lot of people, especially when they first start college.

She said organization is key in fighting off procrastination. You can forget assignments if you’re not organized, and I can attest to that. I forgot about a history assignment that was due the second week of the semester simply because I didn’t write myself a reminder to do it.

Schroder recommends keeping all of your assignments and to-do lists written down in one place, i.e. a planner. And don’t just focus on your life one week at a time. Having an idea of what your month looks like can help you rank things in order of importance.

If you have a Google account, you can use the Google Calendar feature that sends you e-mail reminders for upcoming assignments or events. My best friend is fairly religious about keeping a color-coded calendar with colors for different categories, such as school, work and play dates with her best pal.

Keeping distractions at bay is another component to staying on task, Schroder said. People tend to multitask while they study by logging on to the Internet, watching TV or doing any number of other things that keep them from focusing.

TLC’s distraction-free study area, where mp3 players, cell phones and Facebook are forbidden, might help some procrastinators stay on task. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

I might never be the queen of planning or staying on task, but maybe I can be the princess?