World Wide Wasting Time

I take a look at the clock and I’m shocked. Did I really just spend two hours just clicking my way through funny pictures, videos and lists of “useless- knowledge” on the Internet?
Instead, I should have been working on my paper, that has to be handed in at the end of the week. Now I’m really gonna start… just after checking my mails one last time.

I bet everyone has found her/himself in a similar situation before. Probably even several times. Maybe every day. We “waste” time just so that we don’t have to start working and settle our duties. Sometimes we don’t just run away from the tasks we might not actually like to do, but also from the plans we’ve made and all the things we’d like to do in the future. The problem: for many people “the future” just never starts.


So is this just laziness or already an illness? Scientist call this kind of behavior “procrastination”. This term was brought up and used all over the media a few years ago, so you might have already heard about it. Procrastination, as distinguished from simple laziness is a severe problem of self control, that keeps people from taking over responsibility and finishing projects. Instead, people suffering from procrastination spend their time on everything else you could imagine, just not on the things they are supposed to do. This can turn out as a severe problem, if it affects people’s social contacts, their studies, work and also their self- respect.
It’s like a vicious circle. You waste time instead of finishing something, which makes you feel ashamed and gives you bad feelings, so that you are even less likely to start doing the task, because thinking about it gives you bad feelings… Also, the task is still there and you keep on thinking about it, so you can’t really enjoy your leisure time anymore.

As I waste a lot of time on the Internet, I started to wonder if the WWW was responsible for the increase of “procrastination”. At my university there is an “ambulance service” for students who suffer because of their tendency to delay duties. I asked them about the role that the Internet plays for the illness. They told me that the Internet wasn’t the original reason for procrastination, of course the problem was there before. Still, the Internet, especially when used on a smartphone, gives us more and more opportunities to spend our time on things that might be more pleasant and easy than what we originally wanted to do. Before we had the Internet, we had to move, go outside, read a book, wash the dishes… we definitely had to spend more time and put more energy into finding an alternative activity than we have to do today.

This lead to a real illness and problem, but there are ways to avoid the “avoiding”. It’s okay to spend some time on the Internet, especially as there are lots of great websites (like ISM of course 😉 that can be much fun and helpful. But always reduce that time on a determined time frame. Start on time and also finish at the exact time, that you’ve settled before. Because when you allow yourself two more minutes, two more hours might not seem too bad as well.
For those, like me, who sometimes lack that much will power there are also some programs and add- ons you can install on our computer that will block some websites or the whole Internet for a period of time that you can choose individually.

Even if too much of avoiding can harm yourself, sometimes being lazy is just fine. So go ahead and chill out. But I definitely won’t take my smartphone and I’ll shut down the Internet the next time I’m writing on a paper.

 Carolin Grüning



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