Our motivational state rarely matches the task at hand,... - Deepstash

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Our motivational state rarely matches the task at hand, so we always have to use self-regulation skills to bring our focus to it. So at first it will be, "Okay, I recognize that I don't feel like it, but I'm just gonna get started."

SL: What's the evidence that just beginning a task, even in a very small way, makes it easier to follow through?

TP: We know from psychological research by [Andrew] Elliot and others that progress on our goals feeds our well-being. So the most important thing you can do is bootstrap a little progress. Get a little progress, and that's going to fuel your well-being and your motivation.

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SL: Can people really overcome procrastination?

TP: I guess I'm a living case. When I was an undergraduate, I procrastinated a lot. And now that I understand procrastination, I just have no room to wiggle.

Because it's all about self-deception - you aren't aware that it's going to c...

I can simplify that and say that psychologists recognize we all have a 6-year-old running the ship. And the 6-year-old is saying, "I don't want to! I don't feel like it!"

SL: What are you discovering about how procrastinators' brains work?

TP: Recently we've been doing research that...

Pychyl , a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, has been studying procrastinators for some 19 years. I talked to him about why people procrastinate and how they can learn to stop.

Susannah Lo...

SL: What's the most surprising thing to you about procrastination?

TP: I think the most surprising thing I'm still grappling with is that for many people, the experience of procrastination doesn't match the definition that most of us are working with: a voluntary delay of an intended actio...

TP: [Peter] Gollwitzer and his colleagues for years have shown us that implementation intentions make a huge difference to even deal with things like distractions.

Implementation intentions take the form of "If, then." "If the phone rings,...

If you speak to people, they'll tell you that it doesn't feel voluntary: "I feel like I have no control over it." For some people, it feels totally involuntary, like they can't help themselves.

SL: What's your one biggest tip for stopping procrastination?

TP: One of my pet expressio...

Tax Day is a horror for many procrastinators.

For many people, a little procrastination isn't harmful - like 15 minutes lost in Facebook or putting off doing the laundry for a few days.

But then there are things like taxes. And all the people who keep meaning to start

But psychologists see procrastination as a misplaced coping mechanism, as an emotion-focused coping strategy. [People who procrastinate are] using avoidance to cope with emotions, and many of them are unconscious emotions. So we see it as giving in to feel good. And it's related to a lack of self...

She's doing a study right now using an imagery intervention. So she's going to have students think of an image of themselves at the end of the term. And the hypothesis is that those students who engage with this imagery of future self will then procrastinate less. We [think] that people will make...

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