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Why We Procrastinate

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https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/articles/200507/why-we-procrastinate

psychologytoday.com

Why We Procrastinate
There are many ways to avoid success in life, but the most sure-fire just might be procrastination. Procrastinators sabotage themselves. They put obstacles in their own path. They actually choose paths that hurt their performance. Why would people do that?

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Procrastination is a lifestyle

20% of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. For them, procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a maladaptive one. 

It cuts across all domains of their lives...

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Not taking procrastination seriously

Procrastination represents a profound problem of self-regulation. 

There may be more of it in the U.S. than in other countries because we are so nice; we don't call people on their excus...

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Not a planning problem

Procrastinators are not different in their ability to estimate time, although they are more optimistic than others.

Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling...

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Procrastinators are made, not born

It is one response to an authoritarian parenting style. Having a harsh, controlling father keeps children from developing the ability to regulate themselves....

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Procrastinators drink more

It is a manifestation of generalized problems in self-regulation. That is over and above the effect of avoidant coping styles that underlie procrastination and lead to disengagement via su...

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 Lies procrastinators tell

  • "I'll feel more like doing this tomorrow." Or "I work best under pressure." They do not get the urge the next day or work best under pressure. 
  • Another big lie is that time...

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Looking for distractions

Procrastinators actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don't take a lot of commitment on their part

Checking e-mail is almost perfect for this purpose. They distract th...

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Types of procrastinators

  • Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait until the last minute for the euphoric rush.
  • Avoiders, who may be avoiding the fear of failure or even fear of success; they w...

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Procrastination costs you

  • Health. Just over the course of a single academic term, procrastinating college students had such evidence of compromised immune systems as more colds and flu, more gastrointestinal ...

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Changing behaviors

Procrastinators can change their behavior. It doesn't necessarily mean one feels transformed internally. It can be done with highly structured cognitive-behavioral therapy.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Procrastination as a coping mechanism

People tend to procrastinate to avoid emotionally unpleasant tasks - so they choose to focus on something that provides a temporary mood boost.

This creates a vicious cycl...

The science behind getting started

Progress on our goals feeds our well-being. So the most important thing to do is bootstrap a little progress: get a little progress, and that’s going to fuel your well-being and your motivation.

Implementation intentions for better focus

This is a self-regulatory strategy in the form of an "if-then plan": "If the phone rings, then I’m not going to answer it." "If my friends call me to say we’re going out, I’m going to say no." So you’ve already made these pre-commitments.

Procrastination has a price. It's related to:

  • Depression
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Stress

Willpower Doesn’t Work. Systems Do.

People shy away from routines, systems and frameworks because they want to have “freedom.” But in order to get things done, you need rules.

To get things done, research found effective:

  • Self-imposed deadlines.
  • Accountability systems (commitment with friends, or a coach).
  • Working/studying in intervals.
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day.
  • A healthy diet.
  • Eliminating distractions.
  • And most importantly: Internal motivation.

Why we procrastinate

Procrastination is more about our emotions than our tendencies for laziness or just being “bad at deadlines”. At its core, we procrastinate to keep ourselves happy in the moment.

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How to overcome your procrastination habit

We have two ways of dealing with our procrastination:

  1. Make whatever we’re procrastinating on feel less uncomfortable, and
  2. Convince our present selves into caring about our future selves.

Make getting started ridiculously easy

Often starting a task is the biggest hurdle. Research shows that progress—no matter how small—can be a huge motivator to help us keep going.

Set the timer for just 5 or 10 minutes. While the timer’s running, you don’t have to work, but you can’t do anything else. You have to sit with your work, even if you don’t get started.

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