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Is procrastination a new skill you could add to your CV? Here's some help

11th December 2014

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Is the only thing you’ve got seriously lined up a Breaking Bad marathon? Followed by a scheduled panic attack when you finish a TV series on Netflix and suddenly feel lost? Cats on Youtube?

Oh, the list goes on. I just described 65% of non-medic students, whose inability to self motivate is causing every single one of their problems.

I'm a literature undergraduate – and it often feels like I can't make it through a week without encountering a brick wall whenever I attempt something productive. Gulp. Having an empty timetable at first is a novelty. But after an entire series of Friends and the surprising transition from crammed sixth form life to a meagre two-hour lecture, makes it too easy to get trapped into a malicious cycle. You sit and laugh at the faint echoes of teachers who slammed that “university life is going to be a huge step up for you!” Really, as a Which? report shows, the average number of teaching hours for medics, who expect 20 hour weeks at least, varies ridiculously to history students with only eight.

With such little scheduled hours and without a set routine, it can become increasingly difficult to fill your days with beneficial stimulus, leaving traces of guilt and crumbs with the copious tea breaks you’re having. It’s just too easy to fall into the trap of becoming a motionless blob that lives and breathes Netflix.

But hang on. There’s plenty of productive ways to spend your time; you just have to choose a couple and embark on the road of enlightenment. So, if you are a member of the ‘barely there’ club, here’s a handy list of five easy, effortless and efficient ways to evaporate the hours spent away from lectures.

1) You know those untouched course books you made your mum buy, which precipitated the conversation about what exactly you were paying £9k a year on? This might actually be an opportunity to open one. Think of it as opening the cover to unlock the desirable skills many graduate employers seek of candidates with a degree subject. Although daunting at first, start with a chapter or unit at a time, because small forkfuls are a lot easier to digest than trying to scoff the whole cake at once. Hint - just as Mary Poppins harked about the ‘spoonful of sugar’, well in this case, tea will definitely help this medicine go down!

2) You might not be llama-herding in a foreign country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on some beneficial experience. Getting an internship or part-time job can be a fantastic way to add structure to your week, gain employment experience to boost your CV and… network network network! Plus - who wouldn’t want a bit more cash to sail you through those jägerbomb fuelled student nights? Have a look on your University Guild or a peek round student career websites (such as, and you’ll find yourself with a million tabs open to a million opportunities.

 3) Exercise. Sigh. You see it in magazine columns but it’s time to stop ignoring it: exercise really does aid academic performance! Taking up exercise clubs through your University can be a great way to conquer it with friends. Plus, with Christmas looming, a few gym classes might not be a bad idea to combat those unwanted festive pounds.

 4) Find a cause! Who ever got anywhere by playing it safe? Challenge yourself by joining new societies; university is a great time to explore politics, music and culture. From animal rights to Brazilian jitsu… or even starting your own, embrace the opportunity to find like-minded people and turn your beliefs into positive action.

 5) To the library! The comfort of your flat might be stopping you from displaying a healthy work ethic. The library wasn’t built to just look pretty, so pack up everything and head there: you’ll be less distracted and will have thousands of extra books on hand to get you through it.

There we have it, a few simple ways to heave yourself out of the Netflix hole of despair and onto the path of discovery! Nothing is out of reach, whether it’s the library walls or getting a brand new internship to whack on your CV! Things can only look up from here.

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