Procrastination is a self-reinforcing cycle. The more you stall important work, the more you’ll continue to do so. Yet procrastination doesn’t result from a dearth of motivation or productivity; it manifests from a failure to regulate negative emotions. If you are mired in a chronic procrastination cycle, journalist Charlotte Lieberman helps you dig your way out. She interviewed an array of psychologists, authors and professors to figure out how best to end the self-destructive cycle. Lieberman provides a range of tips to guide procrastinators into a more positive frame of mind. Open at source
“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” said Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa.
But it might also result from deeper feelings related to the task, such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety or insecurity. Staring at a blank document, you might be thinking, I’m not smart enough to write this. Even if I am, what will people think of it? Writing is so hard. What if I do a bad job?
4 min read · Jun 28th · Have you ever come home after a long day at work, with a narrow window of time to eat, shower, and go to bed, but decided to carve out some leisure time at the expense of your sleep? This is called…
Revenge bedtime procrastination is harmful to your physical and mental health. Staying up a bit later to carve out some leisure time may feel good in the short-term, but will lead to some pretty worrisome negative effects in the long-term. It’s okay if we slip from time to time, but breaking this pernicious habit will result in a healthier, more balanced life.
Bedtime procrastination becomes revenge bedtime procrastination when the decision to delay sleep is in response to a lack of free time earlier in the day
In 2020, Daphne K. Lee described revenge bedtime procrastination as “a phenomenon in which people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late night hours.”
7 min read · Jan 26th · How to get started with getting started.
The humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow distinguished between two types of choices we make, fear choices and growth choices. A fear choice is born of insecurity, a choice made for the sake of security or safety, driven by a need to avoid failure or disappointment. But at what cost? We may turn down a promising job opportunity, thinking it isn’t a good fit, when in fact our choice is based on avoiding potential failure. On the other hand, when we make a growth choice, we put reward over risk, choosing to do something, despite the risk, that might make our life more meaningful or rewarding. As Maslow wrote, “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” So which will be the determinant of the choices you make in life, fear or growth?
Procrastination is reinforced by a powerful reward—relief from anxiety.
Apply the "good enough" standard to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. You just need to be good enough. Setting unrealistically high standards prevents you from trying because of the fear of not meeting the unreasonable expectations you place on yourself.
4 min read · Jun 11th · Productivity systems often focus on how to do the work. However, it is crucial to understand why we are struggling to do the work in the first place. Often, our procrastination triggers are emotional…
Reverse your procrastination triggers. Each procrastination trigger can be reversed to stop procrastinating. If a task is boring, try to make it more fun; if a task is difficult, find someone to give you a hand; if a task is unrewarding, treat yourself after you complete it. You can also spend a bit of time defining a specific goal and a detailed plan for ambiguous or unstructured tasks. It will make it much easier to keep started and stay productive.
The higher the emotional aversion to a task, the more likely we are to procrastinate.
Frustrating tasks are often linked to a lack of control and a feeling of helplessness, which may lead to procrastination
2 min read · Jun 18th · The existential exhilaration of playing chicken with Time
In Phase Two, you get busy. Mountains of energy are suddenly available to you. Straining to avoid one particular thing, dawdling mightily, you can do five others.
And now it’s over. You’ve emerged. You have been a weird little god, playing with Time. You’ve been Max von Sydow, playing chess with Death. And while you haven’t won, exactly, you haven’t lost, either.
Outwardly, I’m at ease: I’m pottering about, I’m picking up books and putting them down again, I’m chatting gaily on the phone, I’m eating tortilla chips. But inwardly, inwardly, I’m in violent Luciferian rebellion against the angels of adulthood, of responsibility, of unfreedom.
2 min read · Jun 22nd · One setback doesn't mean the entire day is a wash.
Instead of feeling that you’ve blown the day and thinking, “I’ll get back on track tomorrow,” try thinking of each day as a set of four quarters: morning, midday, afternoon, evening. If you blow one quarter, you get back on track for the next quarter. Fail small, not big.
The idea here is to accept that failure is a given. Nobody walks through life (or embarks on a career path) without stumbling unexpectedly. Thinking of the day in terms of quarters normalizes the inevitability of failure and the idea that you still have a chance to recover—because there’s always another quarter to make up lost ground
to truly succeed you’ll have to get used to allocating and investing your effort throughout the four quarters of your day—morning, midday, afternoon, and evening.