Everyone who lives with or knows an academic is acquainted with how they undergo a strange change in habits every few weeks, rather like werewolves. They begin to speak of mysterious activities such as "proctoring," "grading," and "assessing." They start lugging around piles of paper and books bound in pale blue covers.They disappear for long periods into their offices, where they remain unseen for hours, their presence made manifest only by periodic eerie wails of suffering. Eventually, however, the academic once again resumes their everyday demeanor, and all is well.
But these new habits may be artificially and painfully extended by using a technique known as "procrastination." Although nominally the bane of every academic's existence, procrastination seems to exert an uncanny pull upon their behaviors during the "grading" period. It takes direct intervention to save them from self-imposed doom--especially during "finals," a time which academics speak of only with bated breath. To procrastinate during finals may lead to terrifying consequences, such as a visit from an irate registrar.
Only you can save the academics you know and love from procrastination. Be on the lookout for the following signs.
1. Housecleaning. Normally, the academic is content to casually scrub down surfaces once a week, do the occasional bout of dusting, and vacuum on occasion. Yet not only have they vacuumed the carpets and waxed the hardwoods, but they've cleaned the tile grout with a toothbrush, scrubbed the walls, cleaned the windows inside and out (including the attic windows), and recaulked both the upstairs and the downstairs bathrooms. They've scrubbed down the litterboxes with a special solution and given them an extra going-over with a toothpick. They've rearranged all of the kitchen cupboards. Finally, they've laundered and refolded all of the household linens, which they have then stored according to thread count.
2. Gardening. As a general rule, the academic mows the lawn and, when motivated, occasionally pulls dandelions from the planters. Now, the entire lawn, all two acres of it, has been weeded. By hand.
3. Cooking. Instead of take-out, the academic now sits down to five-course meals put together from the French Laundry cookbook. Some ingredients require traveling for a week in both directions.
4. Internet. The academic racks up extremely high scores on Candy Crush, spends hours every day on Twitter, and regularly updates the blog they haven't touched in a year. Some of them write satirical posts about grading instead of actually doing the grading itself, which is a sign that procrastination has truly taken hold.
5. Reading. The academic finally decides that now is the time to read Finnegans Wake. And Proust, preferably in the original French.