Human Nature: A Mixture of Frailties

Some further thoughts on the problematic assumption of rationality.

Perseveration: The Deep Rut of Change Procrastination

Although we often think of procrastination as putting off a necessary task, procrastination can reveal itself in perseveration - sticking to a task long after we should have stopped. We stick to a well worn path even when we know this path doesn't lead to our desired destination. We make a deep rut in our lives and lack the courage to change.

Self-regulation Failure (Part 4): 8 Tips to Strengthen Willpower

Effective self-regulation is crucial to our personal success and well-being in so many ways. What can you do to maximize your self-regulatory strength?

Tweet, Twitter, Poke, Update: The Dark Side of Technology Use

Caroline Adams Miller has it right, I think. Social-networking tools like Facebook and Twitter undermine us. The late cultural critic Neil Postman had some straight talk for all of us about the role of technology in our lives.

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. This saying is attributed to Freud. I don't know if he really said it, but it doesn't matter. The message is valid in any case. My adaptation of this classic phrase is "Sometimes a delay is just a delay." Don't beat yourself up.

Self-regulation Failure (Part 3): What's Motivation Got to do with It?

Tired, self-regulatory control depleted from an exhausting day that demanded non-stop self-control, we may give up and give in. Like a tired muscle, our willpower seems unable to do any more. However, with the right incentive we can exert our physical strength even with tired muscles. And, so it is with our willpower . . . it’s about motivation, isn’t it?

Resist Doing Things That Have No Meaning in Life

"This is scary advice, advice that can give you a difficult and interesting life." I am re-reading a favorite book, Radical Presence: Teaching as contemplative practice. I highly recommend this book to any teacher. My blog title and opening quote are taken from page 43 of this book. I think this advice has a lot to do with procrastination.

Self-regulation Failure (Part 2): Willpower is Like a Muscle

That's some bicep. If only our willpower looked so well developed. Given that recent research portrays willpower like a muscle, and one easily exhausted it seems, we may need to learn more about "willpower bodybuilding" or other strategies to bolster our self-regulatory strength and reduce our procrastination.
Kids Later in Life: "They'll Keep You Young"

Kids Later in Life: "They'll Keep You Young"

As an older dad, I hear this a lot, "Well, they'll keep you young." It may be that people who encounter older dads don't know anything else (polite) to say. The thing is, the psychology of action and goal pursuit would indicate that they might be right. We're only as old as our life tasks.

Science, Free Will and Determinism: I Think We're Coloring Outside the Lines.

I suppose if there truly were free will I wouldn't be writing this. I certainly feel compelled to add to this discussion. My point, we're coloring outside the lines.
Self-regulation Failure (Part 1): Goal Setting and Monitoring

Self-regulation Failure (Part 1): Goal Setting and Monitoring

The simplest way to think about a self-regulating system is how your thermostat functions with your furnace. As simple as this may be, this model does speak to our own ability for self-regulation, and it's a good place to start this discussion about when self-regulation fails. 

Fear of Failure

It was an exciting day in our research group. Adam presented the preliminary analyses of his thesis data. His study provides some interesting insight into the relationship between fear of failure and procrastination. 

Approaching Success, Avoiding the Undesired: Does Goal Type Matter?

Approach-oriented goals involve reaching or maintaining desired outcomes. Avoidance goals focus on avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. Although both types of goals are common in our lives and both are functional, one goal-type is associated with more happiness than the other. I also think that there's something to learn about procrastination here.

The Last Lecture: Wisdom About Time Management

Stuck in the airport returning home from an emotionally exhausting day, tired and fighting an awful chest cold, my flight delayed to the wee hours of the morning, I stretched out on the seats in the waiting area with Randy Pausch's book, "The Last Lecture." His lecture, his life, has some important messages regarding our goal pursuit. 

Psychology and Why Evolutionary Theory Fails to Satisfy (Me)

Psychology has a lofty goal - explaining, perhaps even predicting, human behavior. Can we do it? I think this picture teaches us that it is unlikely that we'll meet this goal, at least at the level of the individual's life. 

"Don't Delay" Highlights: A Reader's Summary

Bloggers blog about everything, even other blogs. If you're new to the "Don't Delay" Blog, you may want to read this post. It's written by a reader, and he has done a very good job of summarizing some of the major themes in my postings to date.

Want to Start a Task Sooner? Make it Concrete!

A recent study published in Psychological Science reveals a simple answer to getting tasks done. Make it concrete!

A Recipe for Happiness or Procrastination?

A  story today in the New Zealand Herald reports that the CALM (Computer Assisted Learning Method) Web site allows students to download audio files that provide information about long-lasting happiness - ways to harness mental resilience, healthy relationships and finding meaning in life. 

New Year's Resolutions in a Leap Year: One Day Down and still 365 to Go!

The new year has arrived. If this year held the promise of a new intention (or an old one revisited), how's it going? Did your intention become action today?

Holiday Shopping and Procrastination

A National Retail Federation survey found that shoppers have completed less of their holiday shopping this year than at the same time last year and that 41 million Americans have yet to even start, reports Dallas Cook (December 16, 2008).  Are you putting off your holiday shopping? Why?

Enhancing Your Interest in a Task Affects Energy and Action

"I break complex projects down into smaller tasks, and plan the order in which I will perform these tasks.""If an activity gets boring, I can usually find a way to make it fun again."A recent study indicates that people who endorse statements like these as typical of them are less likely to procrastinate.  

Procrastination Tax: It's Not Punishment Enough, Why?

There isn't much doubt about it. We pay for our procrastination. With such punishing consequences, you'd think we'd learn. Why don't we?

Resisting Temptation: Short-term Gain & Long-term Pain of External Control

We all get tempted away from the task at hand. Who resists this temptation? Does external control help us resist temptation? How well we resist temptation and the effects of external control depend on aspects of our personality.

The Trouble with Tips

Reader feedback was swift and accurate. Tips on how to beat procrastination, or tips for most things in fact, simply don't provide a magic cure. Yet, we're hooked on tips. Why do we want them? When do they work? When don't they?

3 Tips to Reduce Procrastination Today!

In a recent interview for a British magazine, I was asked for three tips to reduce procrastination. Given that readers of this blog may not read the magazine, I thought I would share these tips here.

Goal Orientation, Task Difficulty and Task Interest: Effects on Setting Personal Goals

What factors influence the types of goals we set? Will I aim to excel or just get by? Of course, both person and situation variables interact in the process of goal setting. This recent study helps us understand a little more about 3 factors that influence goal setting.

Viktor Frankl on Procrastination

In his autobiography published (in German) in March 1995 to coincide with his 90th birthday, Dr. Viktor Frankl reflected on "The Manner of My Work."

In Search of the Arousal Procrastinator

Are sensation seekers procrastinators? Are they putting things off to get that last minute rush? The evidence is mixed, but they say that they are.

Procrastination and Death: Conference Postscript

 My final day at the conference for the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) provoked further thoughts about death and procrastination.

Living Well & Dying Well: Some Reflections on Regret, Grief and Procrastination

 I'm writing from Toronto while attending the 5th biennial international conference on personal meaning.