We've all had those weeks when it feels like teachers have gotten together and made plans to make our lives as difficult as they possibly can. Whether we want to or not, we've all been guilty of procrastinating and waiting until the last minute to start working. We know all too well the steps we take to avoid the assignments we're given.

1. Optimism

Break out the colorful pens! It's time to make a detailed list of every assignment, quiz, test and event happening during the week. This is the go-to coping mechanism for when you're completely overwhelmed with everything being thrown at you. These lists give the illusion that you have your life together and help you to postpone the panic that happens as the deadlines start to creep up on you.

2. Distracting yourself with productive tasks

I am definitely guilty of procrastinating so hard that I loop back around to being productive. The busiest weeks are always when the most cleaning, organizing of my room and deleting of old junk-emails happen. I tell myself that, once my living space is clean and all my clothes are washed, I will be free to focus on the work that needs to be done. It seems like the perfect plan, right?

3. Flat-out avoidance

This is where Netflix comes into it. After all that hard work of cleaning and organizing, a break is well-deserved. The deadlines are still far enough away that I don't feel like I actually need to start working. I always tell myself that after a good TV binge and some time spent laying in bed, I will get up and dedicate myself to the work that needs to be done. I cannot tell you the number of times that I've made the promise of just watching one more episode. After a while though, I actually do force myself to stop.

4. Let's get down to business


Alright—it's time to get some caffeine, claim a spot at the library (even though I spent forever cleaning my room) and start on all this work. This is usually where I am on Thursdays since I only have two classes to go to. The environment is crucial for me during this stage. All of the color-coded planning I did at the start of the week actually comes in handy as well and helps to keep me from getting distracted between tasks. For a while, it seems like I might actually be able to pull this off.

5. Panic


It's getting later and later, and my brain is starting to lose its ability to concentrate on written words in a text book or the computer screen. The caffeine is wearing off, yet there are still chapters left to be studied and conclusion paragraphs that haven't been written. As I keep getting more and more stressed, my focus continues to drift away from the assignments that need to be done. All this stress makes me want to regress to the stage of flat-out avoidance, but the perfectionist in me won't let this happen. As much as I try to deny it, there are still quite a few hours of work ahead.

6. Never again

Time to take a breath. Somehow I managed to get all my work done. However, the relief cannot be enjoyed because I have to force myself to get up and go class. On the way, while drinking yet another cup of coffee, I make a vow to never ever do this to myself again. I go over the events of the past few days in my mind, picking apart all the times that I could have been being productive and adding hours on to my night's sleep. I do not always keep this promise to myself, but occasionally it does work and I do better at prioritizing the next time that I get bombarded with school work.