Warning dear readers: The items that make up this list have been proven to be highly addictive. This blogger, therefore advises you to tread very cautiously around them, especially when you have deadlines to meet and exams to study for, and explore at your own risk.
As a graduate student, I spend most of my time focusing on what really matters: my studies and all the wonderful piles of reading that I have to get done.
What? You don’t believe me?
Come on, not a single bit?
Well, it’s not like I expected you to anyways, because for the majority of my life, I’ve believed that I have a very short attention span. I would later learn that there was nothing wrong with my span, just that I like procrastinating, then multitasking to get things done.
Since moving to the Lowlands and starting my graduate program, my need to procrastinate has greatly increased, partially because I have to take care of several chores that no one else will do for me, like cook, go to the supermarket, or do the wash. But the greater part has been because there is only so much you can take of pointless literature you will never consult later on in your life.
This is why, with the help of the turbo-speed internet I get in my apartment, I’ve resorted to the following tools to help me un-help myself (if that makes any sense)
A proud Facebook user since 2007, my activity on the social network has gone up since I started living on my own, a few hundred thousand kilometers away from home. Everyone knows what the main purpose of Facebook is: stalking- and that’s exactly what I (shamefully) admit to doing when I get bored. I also use it to post up pictures of all the adventures, because as one of my friends said the other day, I never feel complete without the extra limb that is my camera. Another great purpose? Promoting all the new posts on Beyond Beirut (when I’m not on my extended hiatus, of course).
Oh Youtube, where do I start? How about all the hours I’ve spent watching Freddie Mercury belt out all my favorite Queen songs live? Or any live performance for that matter? Youtube is one of those things I had to fight for when I lived in Lebanon, waiting at least 10 minutes for a 2 minute video to load. So I never considered it an effective procrastination tool- unless you count me replaying the video I had waited so long for. But here? It’s one clip after the other, until I realize an hour has passed and I haven’t done anything worthy. So, I attempt to study accompanied by the next item on this list.
Unlike Youtube, where the internet is too slow to be taken advantage of, Spotify still doesn’t exist in LB. But, to my good fortune, being a music lover and all, it works perfectly fine in Maastricht. Since signing up for the service, I’ve really never had to download any song because Spotify has them all (except maybe the new Coldplay album that I found on Youtube). I’ve also had a field day discovering several versions of my favorite songs. The only downturns to the streaming service? The really annoying ads that I refuse to get rid of by getting a paid account and the fact that it keeps insisting on sharing every single song I’m listenting to with my 400+ Facebook friends unless I have private listenting enabled.
4. My Life is Arabian
You never realize what you’ve got till it’s gone coupled with the idea of it’s always great to poke fun at yourself leads to a website like this one. Covering a wide range of stereotypes across the Arab world- some country specific and others that everyone can relate to- this page I can spend hours reading this, with some Arabic music from my growing-up years blasting on Youtube or Spotify. It’s just a great way to connect back to all things that do with your heritage, even the stuff you used to despise.
I was never much of a cook until I came to Maastricht. Now, you have to force me out of the kitchen, or at least off the cooking websites. All Recipes is my favorite one because it covers a wide range of items, depends on community ratings, and gives clear instructions. I’ve tried out a lot of their items, and it hasn’t disappointed me a single bit. It even has a kitchen appropriate view, where all the information is presented on a landscape page so you don’t need to scroll down the page while your hands are dirty.
6. Word Feud
Apart from my email and Facebook, there are only two apps on my smartphone that I use on a daily basis: Whatsapp and Word Feud, one of the many, many versions of everyone’s favorite board game: Scrabble. Since being introduced to this app by a German classmate during one particularly boring Economics class, I haven’t been able to put my competitive spirit and love for English words aside, often finding myself challenging random strangers into the late hours of the night. You might think I have no life, I just prefer to think I’m enriching my vocabulary.
This has always been my procrastination tool of choice. Just considering that I can jump from one topic to another by clicking all those links they have embedded in the text makes me one very happy person. As you may have established by now, I love learning new things, and this randomness that Wikipedia allows me just makes me one super happy procrastinator and someone who knows a lot about nothing in particular.
2. Beyond Beirut
Blogging is hard work- and I usually write all my posts from scratch or based on whichever pictures I decide to include. So the time I spend writing for this could be actually be used to study. One reason, however, this is a bonus item, is that I tend to take breaks from blogging so it’s not something I do on a daily basis. Another reason? I procrastinate while procrastinating!