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Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

by Timothy A. Pychyl

Procrastination Defined

Procrastination is the voluntary delay of an intended action despite knowing such delay can cause harm in terms of task performance and even to one’s self-image.

Procrastination undermines the pursuit of our goals. Compared to their peers, people who procrastinate achieve less in life, rep...

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To prevent procrastination, start by categorizing the delays in your life. Identify the delays that are voluntary and that undermine your performance and well-being.

Create a list of the things that you tend to procrastinate on. You may find that the tasks have something in common or elicit...

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Procrastination affects our health because it causes stress and leads people to needlessly delay exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep.

Procrastination is a problem with not getting on with life itself. When we procrastinate on our goals, we are our own worst enemy. These...

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  • Make a deep commitment to change by focusing on the costs of procrastination. Ask yourself: “Am I ready to live with them?”
  • Strengthen your goal intention by recognizing the benefits of acting now. Take the time to think about how your goals align with your long-term objectives and v...

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  • Procrastination is a form of regulation failure. You fail to self-regulate because you want to feel good now at the expense of carrying out your long-term goals.
  • If you find that you are chronically procrastinating, it may well be that you are running away from negative feelings by p...

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Emotional intelligence is the ability to effectively identify and utilize emotions to guide behaviour.

If you are likely to procrastinate, use the if X then Y format of an intention.

For example:

IF I feel negative emotions when doing a task, THEN I will com...

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We tend to focus too much on our current situation without regard to how future events will make us feel.

Focuslism: “The tendency to underestimate the extent to which events will influence our feelings and thoughts in the future”

Presentism: “Puttin...

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To overcome presentism, you can forecast the future and try to imagine how you will feel at the time. Another strategy is to accept that you will be wrong.

For Example:

If you think you will feel better doing a task tomorrow, tell yourself that you are probably wrong and ...

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Following are the biases in your thinking that contribute to procrastination:

  • You tend to discount future rewards in relation to short-term goals
  • Underestimate how long things will take and how much you can do
  • Prefer tomorrow over today
  • Self-han...

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  • Once you get started on a task, it is not often as bad as you think. Starting a task demonstrates progress towards your goals which makes a very big difference in your lives.
  • When you feel like putting off a task for tomorrow, get started on some aspect of the task.
  • If on the...

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Our willpower is a limited resource. If you are constantly fighting off the temptation to do one thing over another, you will likely give up.

Ways to boost your willpower:

  • Exercise your self-discipline by holding out longer than usual
  • Sleep and rest w...

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  • The internet and its many addictive apps like Instagram, TikTok and Netflix are some of the top reasons why people procrastinate. 
  • The way to avoid procrastination is to minimize distractions while we are working online.
  • Turn off all notifications that compel you to move towa...

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