Procrastinating and emotions

According to traditional thinking, procrastinators have a time-management problem. They are unable to understand how long a task will take and need to learn how to schedule their time better.

However, psychologists increasingly realize that procrastination is an issue with managing our emotions, not our time.

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Studies show low mood only increases procrastination if enjoyable activities are available as a distraction. In other words, we're drawn to other activities to avoid the discomfort of applying ourselves.

Procrastination leads to two primary consequences.

  1. It's stressful to keep putting off important tasks and failing to meet your goals.
  2. Procrastination often involves delaying important health behaviors, such as taking up exercise or visiting a doctor.

The next time you're tempted to procrastinate, focus on this question: "What is the next action I would take on this task if I were to get started on it now?"

Doing this will take your mind off your feelings and onto an easily achievable action.

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Helpful procrastination

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something.

From the outside, postponing your work can seem like a big waste of time. However, procrastination can help you do your work.

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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 cycle: procrastination itself causes shame and guilt — which in turn leads people to procrastinate even further.

Procrastination is an emotion management problem
Happens when we feel uncomfortable (anxiety, overwhelm ) toward a task. We want to do it, but end up doing something else that feels better.  We run away from our negative thoughts and emotions.

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