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.

Want to Make Sure You Act on an Intention?: Tell a Friend (Maybe Lots of Them)

Designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio every seven years for a year-long sabbatical. How did he ensure he would actually take the time off as planned? What can we learn from him about making sure we act on our intentions?

Savoring the Flavors of Delay

"Is a poet still a poet if he spends most of his time sitting in a white plastic chair in his driveway? If he promises to write an introduction to a poetry anthology but avoids writing and instead riffs on poetry and poems, digressing to the point of absurdity?" A lot of writing involves an apparent delay, but it's not necessarily procrastination. 

Discomfort Intolerance: Why We Might Give in to Feel Good

Irrational beliefs are central to the theory of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and these beliefs are hypothesized to play a role in procrastination. Here's some research that sheds light on which beliefs are most related to our needless task delay.

Economic Stimulus Spending, an Aging Workforce: Political Procrastination Will Deepen the Debt

The economic hole of indebtedness that we're creating now will be worsened by the baby boomers departing the workforce and the increasing costs of health care to seniors. The issue is political procrastination or ignorance, or both.

Quirks of the Brain: Procrastination's Perfect Storm

I enjoyed reading David Rock's blog posting about why all self-help books are the same. I think he clearly identified some of the "quirks" of our brains. His short list paints a picture of the perfect storm for procrastination.

A Sagacious Delay

All procrastination is delay, but not all delay is procrastination. 

Regulating Your Emotions

What can we learn from research on self-regulation that might help us with our emotion regulation? Implementation intentions can be used strategically to influence what emotions we might experience. This interests me because regulating emotions successfully can foster more effective self-regulation and less procrastination.

Getting into a Productive Work Zone

There may be certain dimensions of tasks that make procrastination more likely. In an achievement-oriented context like school or the workplace, a balance between challenge and skill may be particularly important. Get this balance right, and you may get into your own work zone. Get it wrong, and it could contribute to needless delay.

Cherish These Moments; They Go by too Quickly.

As a parent wearily pushes the shopping cart around the supermarket, two kids wiggling their way out of their seats, a passerby (often an older person) smiles and says, "cherish these moments." What parent hasn't heard that before? The comment is the truth, of course, but it means more than the obvious moment.

Twitter-Speak: Adding a Vocabulary Item

Tweople know twitter-speak. Here's my addition to the growing dictionary of twitterific terms.

Control Me or I Will Control You

Self-control is one of the most important attributes that we can develop. Impulsivity is one of our worse liabilities. A study soon to be published in the Journal of Research in Personality explores the interaction of impulsivity and self-control in the prediction of some common behaviors - eating potato chips and drinking alcohol.

Mindfulness and Task Persistence: Not All Self-awareness Is a Good Thing

A new study provides further evidence for the important role of mindfulness in self-regulatory success. The tendency to respond non-judgmentally and to be non-reactive to our thoughts and feelings was related to increased persistence on a difficult task.