Q: What is the greatest labor-saving device ever invented? A: Do you mean besides procrastination?
Chronic Procrastinators: … feel recurring regret. … are filled will good intentions. … don’t understand why they delay time after time. … are quick to rationalize, saying they can’t change.
Procrastinating students: … get more cold and flu symptoms … are more likely to eat poorly … are more likely to smoke … get less sleep and drink more
“People who procrastinate tend to be less healthy, less wealthy and less happy.” - according to a study by University of Calgary professor Piers Steel.
Procrastinators usually do NOT produce their best work because they get impulsive at the last minute: They work quickly They take shortcuts They make careless format mistakes They haven’t collected enough resources
Personality components Fear (e.g. of failure or of rejection) Different priorities (some things are not important enough to them) Power trips and attention grabs (foot- dragging on purpose)
Perfectionism: Often tasks are fussed over long after they have been sufficiently achieved. This fussing and tinkering often serves to delay tackling other problems.
Boredom: Boring jobs are very easy to delay for shallow reasons. Here self-discipline is needed.
Hostility: If you are hostile to the task, or to the person giving the task, there is a strong temptation to delay.
The “Deadline High”: Coming up against a tight deadline and meeting it is immensely satisfying. It can be associated with strong rushes of adrenaline and you may find that jobs are being unconsciously delayed precisely to get this rush.
Cognitive Components If the cause is inefficient work habits Learn to focus Learn to break a task down Harness momentum and overcome inertia If the cause is poor estimation of time learn how to estimate “back-time,” i.e. start from the deadline and accurately gauge backwards when and how much each step of the task really needs
Paralysis CAUSED by planning: The planning process is drawn out to avoid confronting an issue. Plans are argued, polished and perfected, but the implementation is delayed unnecessarily.
Emotional Patterns behind the 6 Types of Procrastinators
1. Perfectionists They fear they’ll fall short of their unrealistically high standards They get buried in details, hoping to avoid mistakes.
Perfectionist checklist: others don’t seem to care about? Do I get preoccupied with details that others don’t seem to care about? my own standards Do I have difficulty starting/ finishing a task because my own standards haven’t been met? work my way Am I reluctant to delegate tasks or work with others unless they work my way? in extremes Do I think about situations in terms of black and white, in extremes? Do others say that I am rigid, stubborn, finicky?
Am I critical of my accomplishments or how long they took? as good as it possibly can Does my work have to be as good as it possibly can in order to satisfy me? would not want revealed? Do I look at my failures as embarrassments I would not want revealed? Do I have trouble maintaining a sense of humor while learning something? Am I upset if I don’t perform as well as a peer?
Perfectionist students get addicted to saying “Hey, considering how little time I had, that B- is pretty good.” They really don’t want to chance having their best work evaluated.
2. Dreamers They’re vague, unrealistic, romantic, leading to a lot of wishful thinking. Their grandiose plans are not turned into solid goals and plans. They’re unable to deal with details.
3. Worriers They have a small “comfort zone” and easily become overwhelmed. They avoid risk or change. They lack confidence in their ability to make decisions. They keep saying “What if…?”
4. Crisis-Makers They’re proud that they can only get motivated at the last minute. They live for the adrenaline rush and life on the edge, such as a procrastination crisis. They have a very low boredom threshold. They avoid routine projects - both starting or completing them.
Some personalities thrive on stress instead of feeling anxious “If it weren’t for stress, I’d have no energy at all”
A benefit of postponing your work: If you procrastinate long enough, you are so backed up to the wall that have no choice lightning speed but to perform at lightning speed total concentration with total concentration
The net result is a full day’s work in, say, an hour! How much more efficient* can you get???? *EFFICIENCY = INTELLIGENT LAZINESS
Chronic stress responses for “Crisis-Makers” Too much cortisol rushing to the brain hurts thinking. Fatigue, anger, depression Immune system weakens and can’t fight infection Blood pressure and heart rate damage the elasticity of blood vessels Ulcers
5. Defiers Type #1: the aggressive, argumentative, sulky types. Type #2: the passive-aggressive types who promise to do something and don't.
6. Overdoers They’re always working so they may not seem like procrastinators. They make extra work and don’t focus on what really needs to be done. They have difficulty saying no and delegating. They’re candidates for early burnout.
PROCRASTINATION Last-minute effort Mediocre performance MorePROCRASTINATION MORE ANXIETY EVEN POORER PERFORMANCE
Procrastination is an inability to regulate behavior and control impulses: If you’re quite impulsive, then you’re unable to protect one intention from another.
Paying off your Mastercard with your Visa card…
Questions for when you get stuck if I really wanted to Could I find the time if I really wanted to? to promise Am I willing to promise it? too hard on myself Am I being too hard on myself? just one more Can I do just one more thing? delegate Can I delegate this?
Would I pay myself Would I pay myself for what I’m doing right now? but not urgent Am I making time for things that are important but not urgent? one task What is one task I can accomplish toward achieving my goal? too big a task Is this a “piano” (too big a task for just one person)?
Reduce the procrastination impact on your work: earlier-than-necessarySet artificial, earlier-than-necessary deadlines right awayTry to do things right away, as they occur to you single tasksFocus on single tasks: Do the prioritizing one task and one deadline at a time, like poking holes into a slab of cheese
to fill …to fill the time available for its completion.”
Remove distractionsRemove distractions Cellphones TV Internet Hunger, thirst, discomfort, drowsiness Acknowledge the consequencesAcknowledge the consequences - the practical downside of not moving on juicy rewardsProvide juicy rewards – in increments - for accomplishing pieces of work
POSITIVE, self-motivating statements “The sooner I get done, the sooner I can play.” “There’s no time like the present.” “It’s cheaper (less painful, more effective) if I do it now rather than wait until it gets worse. “There’s no such thing as perfection: the motto of Washington, DC: “It’s good enough for government work”
Use prompts as reminders get 6 sources For paper
7-Day Anti-Procrastination Mnemonic MondayMake it meaningful – benefits of finishing TuesdayTake it apart – “Swiss cheese” it Wednesday Write an Intention Statement – I promise… Thursday Tell everyone – make yourself accountable Friday Find a reward – and withhold if necessary Saturday Settle it now – Plunge in. Do it now Sunday Say NO – if you really don’t intend to do it
Brasington’s Ninth Law A carelessly planned project takes THREE TIMES longer to complete than expected. A carefully planned one will take only TWICE as long….
Lord, help me to always give 100% at work: 12% on Mondays 23% on Tuesdays 40% on Wednesdays 20% on Thursdays 5% on Fridays… 100%