I am always the first to write things down, make lists, plan assignments out and wait to start until I feel I’m organised enough to get going. I always write down my goals because there’s something about the process that makes them more tangible. I have countless ‘to-do’ notepads packed-full of lists; started but never finished. In some cases, not even started.
Writing down your goals or listing out your things-to-do is supposed to help you complete them. Inspire you to cross them off and feel accomplished. And even I must admit, seeing a large list of ‘to-dos’ crossed off is extremely rewarding. But sometimes, when I’m neck-deep in the planning process, I can’t help but wonder whether these lists are a help, or a hindrance.
Are they just another form of procrastination?
Planning out your assignment feels like you’re being productive.
It creates a sense of direction, of progress, of getting it done.
Planning Isn’t Doing
In the past, I have spent a lot of time planning to do things. Planning to learn another language. Planning to start my gym membership. Planning to start the dreaded University Assignment that was creeping up on me. But planning isn’t doing.
Before any assignment, or, anything I do really, I like to plan. I know what you’re thinking; ‘sensible’ – and it does seem that way on paper, but in reality, it is quite the antipodal. I begin by thinking in my head “Right, I have five things I should do today. I’ll write them down before I forget!” The next thing I know, I’m thirty-four ‘to-dos’ into my list, with an overwhelming feeling of “I’m not accomplishing anything by writing tediously long lists.”
And I was right.
I was using planning to avoid actually doing any work I knew that I needed to write an essay based on the capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence, but rather than actually doing that, I’d tried to plan how I would do it, creating to-do lists and resource lists because if it was on my list, it meant something.
It’s all about intention. Right? If I intend to do it, that’s just as good as actually doing it.
But planning isn’t doing.
Stop Planning, Start Doing
Is planning useless?
By no means.
But, it is important not to get carried away. It may feel productive, reading countless articles about ‘How to write a good essay’ or ‘Essay writing tips for students’, but before you do so, think “Am I actually getting anywhere by doing this? Is my to-do list getting any shorter?” You’ll probably reconsider how you spend your time.
A student with poor planning, and exceptional procrastination skills x
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