It’s easy to find countless articles and guides detailing how to beat procrastination and start being productive. And while most of them give very good advice, they don’t talk about the extra struggle that comes with being in a fandom. So here’s an article on what I call Fandom Procrastination. Very original, I know.
Procrastination can be described as ‘avoiding doing necessary tasks to put enjoyment first’. It involves getting distracted and constantly getting sidetracked. It basically boils down to ‘pleasure over duty’. Everyone suffers from it, no exception. Even the most productive, inspirational people claim to procrastinate sometimes too. There’s no need to feel bad about it – It’s natural. In fact, this is not a guide about beating procrastination because that’s pretty much impossible. It’s about managing fandom and work in a fun and productive way.
While fans suffer from procrastination in the same way as everyone else, sometimes the effects are amplified by the nature of the distractions: the object of our obsession. Distractios are not snacking or looking at pictures of cats (well, that too), but checking the fandom tag on Tumblr, reading fanfiction, or rewatching that one scene for the hundredth time. Fandom is all about having fun, relaxing, and being dedicated to the thing you love the most. It’s, therefore, a much harder distraction to beat when you’re trying to get someting done.
This change in the degree of my procrastination is something I have noticed over my years in fandoms. There will be times in which I’m in more than one fandom, but I’m able to be productive and get stuff done. Maybe because not much is going on in that fandom at that given time, or because I’ve been in it for so long that I don’t obsess over it as much. However, there are times in which my obsession with a fandom is so consuming that even thinking about being productive seems impossible. This happens mainly in two scenarios:
The fandom I’m in is very active at the moment. There are peak times when a fandom is more active than usual. Maybe it’s a new season, a movie remake, or TBTP hinting at something OTP-related. It’s really hard to concentrate on work when your mind is somewhere else, especially if you want to be part of online discussion. This also includes big fandoms where there’s always something going on, and new fanfics are being written every minute.
I’m new in a fandom. The first stages of joining a new fandom are like the first months of being in love (yes, I just said that). At first, everything is new and everything is exciting. There’s just so much to catch up on, so many people to meet, and so many blogs to create!
Feels familiar? Well, here are some tips on how to manage your fandom obsession with actually getting stuff done. Once again, this is not a guide about how to stop having fun procrastinating. “All work, no play” never fixed anyone’s problems, and it doesn’t work in the long run. This is a guide on how to balance fandom procrastination with productivity. Believe me, it’s possible (I’m doing it right now).
Figure out when you’re the most productive
Every person is unique. There’s people who are more productive in the morning, and people who prefer to work at night. Overall, human beings are more likely to be productive in the morning. Why? The subconscious mind is much more responsive and programmable during the first 20 minutes after waking up. Meaning, if you start out your morning by checking Tumblr and listening to anime openings, you’re probably going to feel like procrastinating all day. However, if you start of out with some motivational podcast while you prepare breakfast, it’ll be easier for you to ease into a work mindset.
If this doesn’t work for you, you can also choose your studying/working hours depending on your fandom fellow activities. This is especially relevant if you’re in a small fandom, and even more so if you live in a different timezone as them. If you notice your fandom is more active in certain hours of the day, make sure to do all the work while your fandom friends are still asleep/at school/work so you can later be free to join them.
Alternate ‘work’ and ‘play’ cycles
Forget about non-stop, intensive studying/working sessions (I mean, if you can pull that off, go ahead by all means). Recent studies talk about how taking breaks can boost a person’s productivity. If thinking about work feels like a nightmare, make a game out of it. This is something I actually noticed back when I was studying and I was trying to catch up on seven seasons of Supernatural. I did 1 hour of studying, and then one episode. At first it was hard to get into a study-mode because I just wanted to know what would happen next. After a couple of days, my brain got used to the new routine and started associating the end of a Supernatural episode with opening my History book. I aced that test. I have used this technique ever since. If you want some extra help with working out the cycles, I recommend the time-management app 30/30.
Work first, have fun later as a reward
One of the main problems with procrastination (aside from not doing what you’re supposed to) is that it creates anxiety. Lots of it. You’re probably familiar with this situation: You’re putting off work in favor of being on Tumblr, but it doesn’t feel that good because you’re constantly feeling bad. Meaning, you’re not enjoying your fandom time as much as you could. Wouldn’t it feel much better to have fun once all your work has been done?
How can you do this? If you wake up and there’s a new episode of your favorite show, but you also need to do some work – do your work first. It doesnt matter if it’s a season finale, or if you’re really hyped about it. Just forget it exists for a couple hours. Just focus on the satisfaction you will feel once the work is finished and you’re free to go straight to that episode without a single care in the world. If you watch the episode before doing your work, it will cause you to feel anxious when you’re supposed to be having fun. Furthermore, it will be much harder to get into a working-mood when you’re too busy fangirling and reblogging gifs of that episode.
These are some of the tips I picked up over my years of managing studies/work with being completely obsessed with something. Do you have any other tips to beat fandom procrastination that have been useful to you? Share them with us in below!