Procrastination: Feeling Overwhelmed, Helpless and Ready to Run Away

For the size of the wave, it's surprising how it catches us by surprise. You'd think we'd see it coming. Yet, each time we sit down to begin a difficult task that we'd rather avoid, here it comes - a huge tidal wave of negative emotions that overwhelms us. We feel incompetent. We feel like an imposter. We want to run away.

Time Management, Willpower, Success: A Source for Really Busy People

Have you ever wanted to read all of the self-help books you've seen on airport bookstore shelves, but lacked the time? Then this series of books may be just the thing for you. It's the "Coles Notes" of the self-help and motivational literature.

Appetite and Attitude: A powerful example of positive thinking

I don't know anyone with more tenacity than Lance Mackey when it comes to goal pursuit. A cancer survivor with the odds stacked against him in many ways, Lance simply set his sights on his goal - 1st place in what is known as the "Last Great Race on Earth" - the Iditarod. On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, Lance Mackey made dog mushing history winning his 4th consecutive Iditarod race. What can we learn from Lance? It's about appetite and attitude.

The Personality of the Workaholic and the Issue of "Self"

A study published this month explored the personality of workaholics. Of interest was the relation of narcissism and workaholism. 

Just Mush!

Sam Deltour is one of 72 mushers who entered the annual Iditarod Sled Dog race this year. This young man has some practical advice from the trail that can benefit us all when we face challenges in life.

Will You Remember to Read This Post Later When You Have Time?

A study published this month indicates that people who report that they manage their time well also report having good prospective and retrospective memory. Setting goals and priorities as well as a preference for being organized was also related to better memory.

March 4th! - It's National Procrastination Week

It's March fourth, and, of course, time to "march forth" right into the middle of National Procrastination Week. I suppose you could say it's ironic. I'm sure many see it as funny. I just think the farcical week reflects a misunderstanding of the difference between delay and procrastination. 

Stumbling on Meaning, Finding Happiness on the Way

In my last post, I presented my take on the cost of balance in life. Without thinking about it, at least without over-analyzing it, I ended my post by addressing my own particular "blend" of balance: work, play and love. It took another Psychology Today blogger to explain to me why I had arrived where I have. This is the blend for a meaningful life.

Thoughts on a Balanced Life

We marvel at good balance whether in nature, athletic pursuits or in our day-to-day lives. In our lives, balance is often advocated as a way to live more healthily and to decrease stress. If you are striving for balance, it's important to understand that it comes at a cost.

Confront the Difficult While it is Still Easy

My post today is short passage taken from the Tao Te Ching. It's a little something for our reflection as we face the tasks ahead of us today.

Forgive Yourself to Stop Procrastinating

One of our research papers that will soon appear in the journal Personality and Individual Differences explains how self-forgiveness may reduce subsequent procrastination. I'm revisiting this issue with this short post featuring two of our Carpe Diem cartoons.

Living Alone? Can Canine Companionship Help Beat Loneliness?

Our research just published in the journal Anthrozoös revealed that among pet owners with low levels of human social support, high attachment to pets predicted significantly higher scores on loneliness and depression. These findings highlight the complex nature of the relationship between pet ownership and psychological health.

A New Study on Maximizing Work Performance

In a paper soon to be published in Personality and Individual Differences, researchers discuss the practical implications of their study in terms of maximizing work performance. This recommendation includes a combination of personality, motivation orientation and organizational climate.

Planning and Procrastination

I have a question for the faithful readers of my Don't Delay blog. In fact, I have two questions. They're about how you plan and make intentions. Will you take a minute and answer them for me? (This is short, but interesting, I think.)

Focus on the Positive Outcome of Goals

Strategies, like implementation intentions, that are meant to enhance our goal pursuit are only really effective when we already have strong goal intentions. Here's an example of strengthening an exercise intention.

Are Procrastinators Just Lazy?

What does it mean to be lazy? Are procrastinators lazy?

Beating Procrastination on the Small Stuff

We're not always bothered by procrastination on our major goals. Putting off the small stuff can drive us nuts, and it all adds up. Here's a short post about a simple strategy for dealing with this needless delay.

Implementation Intentions Facilitate Action Control

I'm often asked what someone should do to reduce procrastination. One of my most common answers is, "It's not enough to have a goal intention, you need to have an implementation intention too." Today, I explain what an implementation intention is and how it works to overcome four common problems in goal pursuit. 

Overcoming Procrastination: Four Potential Problems During Goal Pursuit

Procrastination is not just a failure to get started. We can face a variety of problems and needlessly delay action at many stages of goal striving.

What Makes an Excuse Credible? Does it Matter?

When we're relying on willpower to overcome our desire to procrastinate, what we need is a credible excuse. What are the features of a credible excuse for a sophisticated decision maker? What if our excuse is less than perfect? Can we fix it? 

Personality, Homework Behavior and Academic Performance

A study to be published in the upcoming issue of the journal Learning and Individual Differences explored the relation between personality and homework behavior. Yes, of course, procrastination is a key variable here, and personality does make a difference in students' homework behavior and academic achievement.

A Reader's Strategies for Coping with Adult ADHD and Procrastination

I received a letter from a Don't Delay reader today. With his consent, I'm sharing this letter here on the blog, as it's an insightful, well-written, first-hand account of coming to grips with adult ADHD and procrastination. We can all learn something from reading this.

Procrastination and Adult ADHD

Here's a brief summary of some not too surprising results of research exploring the relation of ADHD with procrastination.

Ending Procrastination Now: A Key, Simple First Step

I interviewed a clinician who is very well known for his work on procrastination, Dr. William (Bill) Knaus.

Avoidance Goals Lack Meaning and Manageability

What would you write here? Would your goals be an expression of your desire to approach success or avoid failure? It turns out that our avoidance goals are typically less enjoyable and goals for which we feel less capable. We also rate these goals higher on procrastination.

An Enemy of the Good Life: Happiness and Personality

Christopher Peterson is not the first positive psychologist to out himself as a worrying ruminator. 

A Strategy for New Year's Resolution Success: A Commitment Contract

An article published in The Economist provides insight into the economics of procrastination and helps explain why our resolutions for January 1st often fail to result in the change we seek. The author concludes that a "commitment contract" may be the secret to success in the new year. Here are a few sentences that summarize the approach. 

Buy Now, Pay Later: New Year's Resolutions, Self-deception and Procrastination

You've got to love New Year's resolutions. The self-righteous act makes us feel good now, but we pay later. In fact, I think these resolutions are a form of culturally-scripted procrastination that actually results in greater self-regulatory failure.

A Strategy for More Effective Planning

When we put off a task until tomorrow, we often have this naïve view about tomorrow as a "blank slate." We believe and act as if we have the whole day open to us. Usually, this is far from the truth. How can we plan our goal pursuit more realistically and effectively?

Strategies for Thesis Completion: Not Synthetic Happiness

As Clay Shirky has said about Web 2.0, "here comes everybody," and with that we get great conversation, with real listening. My blog entry today includes 2 readers' responses to my entry about "a downside to synthetic happiness" and my attempt to clarify the concept further. I begin with the shortest entry written by a reader who beat thesis procrastination!

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