Don't Delay

Understanding procrastination and how to achieve our goals

An Experiment That Might Help Reduce Procrastination

The honesty experiment might help stop procrastinators' self-deception

The Honesty Experiment
Can you imagine a world where everyone was honest all the time? Not the “say whatever you’re thinking” kind of honesty, but the simply sincere kind. Genuine. Free. Can you imagine being honest with yourself?

The first two sentences above are taken from Kira Newman's opening lines to "The Honesty Experiment." I met this writer when I did an interview for a piece she did in The Social Media MonthlyKira lives a life of lively dance between text and technology, as well as swing dancing just for fun.

Her latest project - The Honesty Experiment - is about to begin on April 1st, and you can be part of it. 

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What is it?

It's a 4-week experiment where you try to be honest. This is a "direct kind of honesty that involves telling the people you care about what’s on your mind when it’s relevant – and being honest enough with yourself to admit it in the first place."

If you participate, Kira will ask you to answer four questions by email:

  • How honest were you this week? 
  • What did it feel like?
  • What was the hardest part?
  • What positive changes have you noticed, if any?

Your answers will be published on Kira's blog. Afterward, you’ll all have a discussion/celebration/commiseration session to talk it over. At worst, you’ll have some interesting stories to tell. At best, your vague goal will be vague no more. That's what interests me in this experiment.

Why would I suggest participating?

Well, as I've written previously (e.g., Existentialism and Procrastination (Part 2): Bad Faith), self-deception is at the heart of procrastination. If we can't be honest with ourselves, there's little hope that we can stop needless delay (if we want to).

How do we get involved?

Email by April 1. Include your name, a link to your Twitter profile, and ~100 words about why you want to do this. Kira will select the participants and kick off the Honesty Experiment on April 3. Honest! 

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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