Mañana, tomorrow, the word conjures up a laid-back life style. In fact, we often stereotype some cultures as more laid back - Mañana nations perhaps? Are there national differences in the prevalence rates of chronic procrastination?
Procrastinators rarely engage in their lives in a way that creates the experience of "flow." They're rarely "in the zone" or "find their groove." What's flow? Why are the optimal conditions for flow just the opposite of what promotes task delay?
We give in to feel good. Give in to what? Food, shopping, drinking, smoking, gambling, and, you guessed it, procrastination. The problem is that focusing on regulating our moods and feelings can lead to self-control failure in other areas.
The human confrontation with deep existential issues is now the focus of rigorous experimental methods in the discipline of Experimental Existential Psychology (or XXP for short). Experimental existentialism? Is this an oxymoron? Not according to psychologists from The Netherlands and the U.S. who published their "position paper" for this new approach in the journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science.
What is life really all about? Perhaps the more accurate way to phrase this as a question is "What is your life really all about and why don't you get on with it?" Does this mean procrastination is an existential issue?
It's an old story - transgression, acknowledgement or confession, forgiveness, redemption. Does it work with procrastination? It should. According to the Roman Catholic Church, slothfulness is one of the seven deadly sins. Is forgiveness the road to redemption for our sins of omission - the tasks left undone?
One of the most significant, recent publications about procrastination is a comprehensive meta-analysis conducted by Piers Steel (University of Calgary, Alberta) and published in Psychological Bulletin (2007). This paper is well written and a must read for my thesis students. Unfortunately, I find it misleading, because of its focus on an equation to explain procrastination. Economists and naïve realists need not read on.