Quarantine schedule locks sophomore in cycle of procrastination

April 14, 2020 — by Nicole Lu

At exactly 7:10 a.m., my alarm rings. And rings. And rings. Every morning I wake up to the same trauma-inducing ringtone, and every morning I press snooze and pledge to myself that today is the day I change that awful sound.

After nodding off at 5 a.m., I still can’t believe I had the great idea to start off my day at 7:10 a.m. sharp. Every night, I hope that tomorrow is the day I will finally revert to my productive pre-quarantine school schedule and get work done.

After turning off 20 alarms (yes, I actually counted), I eventually wake up at around 10:30 a.m., when I then jump on my phone and procrastinate for another half hour. At 11 a.m., I come out of hibernation and eat breakfast before heading back to bed, where I proceed to do absolutely nothing.

For some inexplicable reason, I go into a state of panic around noon and start furiously working. For the next three to four hours, I tackle my homework and the Zoom meetings I have to attend, all while fitting lunch and chores during the afternoon. 

It’s a little unhealthy how active I have been on social media since quarantine has begun. Though I find that the free time I now have is beneficial, attending school used to provide me with the structure I desperately need. Without a forced schedule, I find myself constantly drifting away from my goals into the world of procrastination. On a normal school day, I could finish my homework in around five hours with minimal procrastination, but now, it takes me the entire afternoon and night to find the motivation to even start.

At 5 p.m., while eating dinner, I abruptly realize how little I’ve accomplished that day. For the next three hours, I stress and watch the required history documentaries before they’re due at midnight. Afterward, I always allot 45 minutes to dutifully practice piano every day around 8:15 p.m. 

It’s now 9 p.m. On a good day, I’ll probably watch various YouTube workouts and exercise for around half an hour. More often than not, however, I’ll decide to skip this completely and go straight to my nighttime routine. 

Then, I spend until 10 p.m. procrastinating, sitting at my desk with wet hair, doing — you guessed it — absolutely nothing. 

At 11 p.m., a third wave of panic sets in. It’s at this time that I remember the history and English assignments due at midnight, and in a mad rush, I finish them at the last minute. This is the second part of my nighttime routine. 

For math and science, however, I’m more lenient with myself because they’re due the next morning instead of at midnight, which is an excuse for even more procrastination. At 12 a.m., I start my math and science homework with “study breaks,” which is just a euphemism for “going on social media and watching YouTube.” However, due to my procrastination, I always end up submitting my work at around 2 a.m. 

Apparently, this still isn’t too late for me, because from 2 a.m. to approximately 4 a.m., I lie in bed and continue browsing social media, particularly TikTok. Despite my best intentions and high hopes, I can never turn my phone off before 5 a.m. Right as the sun comes up, I set my 20 alarms for three hours from then and promise myself that later today will finally be the day I wake up early, find my motivation, and get my schoolwork done. 

And yet, somehow, I always find myself stuck in the same routine day after day. At 7:10 a.m., my blaring alarm rings again, and the self-destructive yet addictive cycle repeats once again.