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've been doing some interviews with colleagues for my iProcrastinate Podcasts. Most recently, I interviewed a clinician who is very well known for his work on procrastination, Dr. William (Bill) Knaus. You can tell he's had years of experience, as he was able to state the obvious so simply. Here's one clear example.

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!

A Downside to Manufacturing Our Own Happiness

Research by Dan Gilbert (Harvard), his students and colleagues clearly indicates that we can synthesize our own happiness despite what would seem like dire circumstances or poor choices. The thing is, this powerful innate coping mechanism or psychological immune system can be a liability as well, because it can undermine our motivation for action. 

Student Newspaper's Top Pick: Top 10 Most Addictive Websites

The student newspaper for the University of South Carolina published a list of the top 10 Web sites for students looking to get rid of some end-of-term stress.

Procrastination, Guilt, Excuses and the Road Less Traveled

"People seldom do what they believe in," said Bob Dylan. "They do what is convenient, then repent." I agree with the first part, but there's more to it than repentance, including: distraction, forgetting, trivialization, self-affirmation and denial of responsibility to name a few. 

When Negative Thoughts Invade

Millions of us world wide learned a great deal from Professor Randy Pausch with his "Last Lecture." Here's some hard-earned insight from Jai Pausch, Randy's wife, that can also benefit all of us. It certainly means a lot to me.

Facebooking at Work: A Brief Commentary

Pamela Rutledge's comments about the Positive Psychology perspective on creating appropriate social media usage in the workplace doesn't make sense to me. In fact, I think it's positively wishful thinking.

A Procrastinator's Story: Adult ADD, Life-long Habits & Irrational Thinking

I received a letter from a reader today. With his consent, I'm sharing this letter here on the blog, as it's an insightful, well-written (at times painful) first-hand account of coming to grips with procrastination.

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