My Father's Wisdom

My father has always been a source of wisdom in my life. Most recently, he gave me some of the most important anti-procrastination advice I have ever heard.

Media Use, Escapism and Procrastination

We use media for many purposes including information, entertainment, social interaction and to escape the stresses of daily life. A recent study by a German colleague answers the question: “Is this escapism the same as procrastination?”

Why We’re Reluctant to Get Specific

Do you ever put off doing the thing that would decrease your procrastination? An aversion to planning or adequately specifying what you need to do may be the problem.

Where Did The Summer Go?

While all procrastination is delay, not all delay is procrastination. New research has defined six types of delay. What kind of delay do you experience most?

Pre-crastination: What Is It, You Ask?

Is pre-crastination, like its namesake, “procrastination,” another example of a suboptimal choice? In a recent series of studies, researchers posed a simple question: "Would people naturally prefer to pick up an object that could be carried a short distance rather than an object that would have to be carried a long distance?" The answer will surprise you.

The Role of Goal Focus in Reducing Procrastination

If we want to overcome procrastination, is it more important to focus on the means of goal pursuit (i.e., how we will do a task) or to focus on the outcome of the task (i.e., the possible reward)? It depends.

Preparedness Procrastination

One of my hobbies is amateur radio. I’m a “ham.” This week, amateur radio enthusiasts are marking Preparedness Week in Canada. Given how often I hear people talk about preparedness while doing not too much of anything, I think it might be better to co-celebrate Preparedness Week with National Procrastination Week. What might account for preparedness procrastination?

Procrastination: Blame It On My Genes

A recent behavioral genetics study revealed that procrastination is moderately heritable, and that genetically it was not separable from impulsivity. Does this mean that impulsivity is the cause of procrastination? No, not at all. It’s all about goal-management ability.

Learning Disabilities and Academic Procrastination

Students with learning disabilities face special frustrations with academic tasks. They report stress, anxiety, self-doubt, diminished persistence, lower expectations for success and negative emotions associated with school work. Of course, procrastination may also be a problem. A new study explores procrastination in relation to students with learning disabilities.

Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

“I’ll feel more like it tomorrow.” How often have you said that? Present self doesn’t feel like it, but certainly future self will. Why do we do this? Is it true?

Procrastination: Why Mindfulness Is Crucial

In a recent paper, some colleagues wrote, “The connection between mindfulness and improved emotion regulation is certainly an intuitive one…” I agree. What seems less intuitive to many people is how these also connect to our procrastination. In fact, I think understanding this is the central thing we need to understand about procrastination.

New Year's Resolutions: Ringing in the New with the Old

One of my thesis students is in her last day of data collection. She has been out on the streets requesting brief interviews with people. Her questions revolve around new year’s resolutions. Do you make them? If so, what are they this year? How successful were you last year? Do you have a plan along with a goal?

Breathe, Count: This is a Basic Volitional Strategy

Inhale, count 1. Exhale, count 2. Continue until you reach 10. Do you ever use this strategically to decrease procrastination? You should.

I Have to Do It or I Want to Do It?

I’ve gotta get this done. I’m going to try and do that tomorrow. Both of these statements signal upcoming problems for really getting things done.

How not to Be Pavlov's Dog

“I couldn’t help it. I can resist everything except temptation” (Oscar Wilde). “Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained” (William Blake). What do we know about individual differences in resisting temptation?

You Can Develop Desired Health Behaviors

How do we develop more healthy habits?

Success Depends on Starting

My personal mantra for fending off procrastination is "just get started." Here's a short post by a professional coach that explains how and why this is so important.

Procrastination Helps Creative Thinking

Procrastination helps creative thinking. You might come back to it with a fresher approach if you procrastinate. These are two of 13 positive beliefs that some chronic procrastinators reported. There are some negative beliefs as well. A paradox? The truth?

Intentional Procrastination or Procrastinating on Intentions

My annual physical was in July. My doctor gave me a requisition for blood work. It's almost October and I haven't done that yet. Is this procrastination?

The Future is Now: Lower Impulsivity, Delay Gratification

The problem with self-control is that we are usually paying now for a reward later. The consequence is that we discount future rewards and give in to feel good now. How can we learn to delay gratification? Here’s some new research that might help.

When Pride Prevents the Fall

Procrastination. It’s nothing to be proud of. Recent research reveals that this lack of pride may be part of the solution to procrastinating less!

Depression and Procrastination

If I were to name two common problems or experiences that many people share, they would be depression and procrastination. Not surprisingly, they’re related. Here’s some recent research and personal experiences that provide some insight into this relation.

An Experiment That Might Help Reduce Procrastination

Can you imagine being honest with yourself? How would that work? Try "The Honesty Experiment" and find out.

Three Women and a Hospital Room: What I'm Learning

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at the hospital. My mother had a stroke just over a month ago. There has been plenty of time and motivation for reflection.

A Procrastinator's Wise Advice and Success Strategy

The secret of motivating present self is in imagining the consequences for future self. We need to be able to go “back to the future.” You don’t have to believe me, a blog reader/podcast listener says it best! Here's a powerful anti-procrastination strategy.

Strategies to Strengthen Executive Function

A reader of my last post agreed with the points made about self-regulation failure, but noted, “when the [procrastination] habit has been 'cemented,' things are not so simple.” Another reader wrote, “Please tell more about how self-regulatory skills can be learned.” Here are some research-based strategies to strengthen executive function.

What Guilt Teaches Us About Procrastination

I’m not advocating that having guilt is a good thing. Far from it. That said, the fact that we experience guilt when we procrastinate reveals something very important about needless delay.

Caffeine, Alcohol and Fear

When asked how she accomplishes so much, British writer Caitlin Moran replied with “caffeine, alcohol and fear." Said in jest, at least in part, I think this statement rings true for many. What does that say about motivation?

Too Much of a Good Thing?

“Despite good intentions, most goals go unfulfilled.” This is the opening line to a research article published this fall, and it’s not news to most of us. This recently published study does have some surprises in terms of why some of our best intentions fail.

Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Distress

Excessive concerns about making mistakes, pernicious self-doubt, harsh self-criticism, impossibly high standards or expectations for performance, a strong and chronic tendency to evaluate one’s performance as not measuring up to levels expected by oneself or others - these are features of maladaptive perfectionism that predict psychological distress.