Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Experience with Caffeine-Fueled Procrastination

My name is Anders Bruce and I’m taking English 115 (Technical Writing) and English 256 (Literature of Science Fiction) through ELI. I am excited to be writing a three-part series of posts that will focus on time management – specifically, on mustering the energy and concentration to complete online coursework in a timely fashion, without relying on stressful, last-minute efforts that yield sloppy work.

Last year, my procrastination was at its worst. I was working thirty hours a week at a clothing store, including overnight floorset shifts, as well as attending NOVA full-time. The time was ripe for me to learn to manage my time effectively so that I could live up to all these different obligations, perhaps by building an hour of homework and studying into my daily schedule. Instead, I tended to vegetate with friends when I wasn’t working, for which I would compensate by consuming hundreds of milligrams of caffeine, in the form of coffee, tea, and energy drinks, whenever a deadline loomed.

The caffeine boosted my productivity at first, so that I was able to slap work together at the last moment, but I quickly developed a tolerance to the euphoric and focus-enhancing aspects of the drug – though not to its disruption of sleep. Most nights, I’d be up until about six in the morning and only be able to sleep until eleven o’clock or noon. I ended up dropping an online astronomy course I was taking, exactly 60% of the way through, because I had managed my time so poorly and because

I allowed myself to feel so overwhelmed.
In my next entries, I’ll dive beyond my own personal experience into some of the research into caffeine, other energy supplements, and procrastination, as well as explaining the role that physical exercise can play in sustainably maintaining focus and energy.

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