Don't Delay

Understanding procrastination and how to achieve our goals

A Procrastinator's Wise Advice and Success Strategy

The secret of motivating present self is in imagining the consequences for future self. We need to be able to go “back to the future.” You don’t have to believe me, a blog reader/podcast listener says it best! Here's a powerful anti-procrastination strategy. Read More

Genetic explanation for working under pressure?

Tim, does this research help to explain why some people (claim they) perform best under pressure and need the pressure of the situation to get motivated? Feel like it describes me - though i don't want it to becuase it has gotten me in many hairy all-nighters, from which I am far too old now to recover.


“The people who perform best in normal conditions may not be the same people who perform best under stress,” Diamond says. People born with the fast-acting enzymes “actually need the stress to perform their best.” To them, the everyday is underwhelming; it doesn’t excite them enough to stimulate the sharpness of mind of which they are capable. They benefit from that surge in dopamine — it raises the level up to optimal. They are like Superman emerging from the phone booth in times of crisis; their abilities to concentrate and solve problems go up.

"Back to the Future"

This idea of projecting how you will feel in the future is something I used (albeit unsuccessfully!) with my son when he procrastinated doing his exercises and practice to improve his baseball skills. He was usually in tears when he was threatened with not making a team or performing poorly in a game situation.

So I would say to him, "Put yourself in the future and see/feel how upset you will be when you do not make the team. Then you will be wishing you had practiced more, but then it will be too late. Now there is still time to change all that."

I thought it was a good idea and this listener concurs. Sadly, it wasn't enough to motivate my son to do anything about it!

negative emotions

I can relate deeply to your readers dilemma. I too experience 'more' anxiety when I don't do the mitigating behaviors; meditation, exercise, eating, and sleeping. The reverse is also true in my experience. that is the negative emotion projected into the future without changing strategies and/ or behaviors can result in more procrastination. For example, if I have had a 'negative' experience due to a certain action and I then withhold action (procrastinate) because I expect a similar, negative result. Sincerely, R

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Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he specializes in the study of procrastination.


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