Willpower 101: A Gift for the Class of 2016

If you ever struggle with procrastination - and face it, who doesn't? - you'll want to read this book. In fact, I will recommend it as a "must listen," and that makes it an ideal gift for sons or daughters as they head off to college and university this fall.

Stop Thinking Goal, Think Practice

I’m a big advocate of clearly defined goals and goal achievement. To my surprise, I think I may have been misplacing some of the emphasis. It’s not always about the goal. It might be about the practice.

The Power of Hypocrisy

In a recent new book, psychologists argue that cognitive consistency is a basic principle of how we function. We seek to resolve any form of dissonance. Until we do, we feel the tension of hypocrisy. Is this hypocrisy an evolved strategy that fosters self-regulation?

No Magic When It Comes to Weight Control

“Illuminating the Obesity Epidemic With Mathematics” is the title of a new paper by Dr. Carson Chow. A recent New York Times article captures Chow’s conclusions succinctly, “There’s no magic bullet on this.” So, what does it take?

Can You Make Yourself Smarter? Only if You Try

An article in the New York Times summarizes some compelling evidence that we can improve short-term memory that in turn improves fluid intelligence. Yet, as the author writes, “. . . cognitive exercises may prove to be up against something even more resistant to training than fluid intelligence: human nature.”

Self-Control Is More Than Strength and Brute Resistance

So often, self-control is portrayed along only one dimension—willpower strength. Willpower may be like a muscle, but self-control involves skill too. Here's a new book that speaks to our weakness of will.

Is the Word "Just" an Injustice to Self-Regulation?

Some advice from a reader: “be very wary of the word 'just' ... normally it conceals a lot of difficulty.” If this is true, why do I always say, “just get started?”

The Power of Habit

It’s typical to speak about procrastination as a habit. There are self-help books with this title in fact. Here are some key ideas from Charles Duhigg that I want to echo when we think about habits.

I Don't Feel Like It, And That's OK

Some tasks take much more time and energy than we ever expect. A break, some task delay, and dare I say it—even some old-fashioned procrastination—may be the best thing to do.

I'll Feel More Like It Tomorrow

"Tomorrow - A mystical land where 98 percent of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored." (Unknown) Ah, tomorrow, what promise it holds . . . at least that's what we want to believe.

Due Tomorrow. Do Tomorrow.

The problem for some of us is that these mean the same thing. Why do I think I'll feel more like doing it tomorrow? Why do I procrastinate?

How to Flip It "Bright Side Up"

What's one thing you could do right now to be happier?

Why Teachers Shouldn't Reward Bullsh*t

Students procrastinate. Teachers know it, students do too. The thing is, teachers can reinforce procrastination and undermine motivation. Here's a student's account of how this happens.

What Will You Do? What Would We Predict?

The honest answer to this question is, "it depends." However, far too often we're led to believe, or we'd like to believe, that someone can actually predict what we'll do. Although it's true we're like all other people in some respects, we're also like no other person.

If a Job Is Worth Doing, . . .

You probably filled in the rest of this sentence. Here's a new twist on an old expression that may just help you make more of the opportunities in your life.

Awareness: A Key Piece in the Procrastination Puzzle

It is well known that mindfulness is an important coping resource. Did you know that there are a number of sub-components to mindfulness? One of these is more highly related to reduced procrastination than the others.

The Power of a Plan

A recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology along with new features on smart phones may mean a lot less thinking and more timely doing!

Unnecessary Illusions and the Truth about Procrastination

I recently delivered an invited talk for an authors' series around the theme of "unnecessary illusions and truth." The theme fit what I've learned about procrastination over the past decade. Here are 10 illusions about procrastination with relevant research that challenges each.

What Do Procrastinators Think?

What we think about matters. The experience of frequent procrastination-related thoughts contributes to increased psychological distress.

Self-Control and Fatty-Food Consumption

We have an evolved preference for fatty foods, but in today's world we need to resist these consumption urges. A new study reveals the role of executive function in this self-restraint.

Why Do I Clean Out My Fridge?

Have you ever wondered why you end up cleaning out your fridge rather than writing a report. You could put off the report and go and have some fun instead. At a recent conference, my colleague proposed an answer.

Procrastination: Bad Credit on Future Self?

It's often the case we want things now for which we do not have the money. Credit solves this problem. Credit can create problems too. So it is with procrastination.

Debt-Ceiling Procrastination?

I just finished a NPR Marketplace Morning Report interview about the apparent procrastination around approving a required rise in the debt ceiling. The thing is, this isn't procrastination.

Procrastination and Performance in Online Learning

Do you spend time learning online? This new study on procrastination, learner participation in online discussions and course performance may interest you. There are certainly good suggestions for educators.

A Neuropsychological Perspective on Procrastination

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology is the first to investigate subcomponents of self-reported executive function related to procrastination. This is an excellent paper with practical implications for reducing procrastination.

Are You Procrastinating on Financial Matters?

Got 3 minutes to learn about how procrastination affects our financial lives?

Free Won't: It May Be All That We Have (or Need)

There's lots of research evidence demonstrating that many of our actions are not initiated consciously. Perhaps it's not a matter of free will, but "free won't," and this matters in terms of procrastination.

Do You Do What You Say You'll Do?

To what extent do you keep your promises to yourself even if later on you don't feel like doing what you had promised yourself to do? A recent study reveals the predictive power of say-do correspondence in relation to procrastination.

He Had a Year to Do It in

If you have ever put a task off—particularly a task that just never seemed to go away, or one that never got done—you'll enjoy this poem, "He Had a Year to Do It in." Some laughter for this Friday the 13th!