DON'T: Delay Important Work Out of Fear You'll Fail
Professor Joseph R. Ferrari of DePaul University writes extensively on procrastination and
has found that procrastinators aren't simply managing their time
poorly. It's a tactic deployed by those with vulnerable self-esteem and
has a lot to do with perceived notions of time.
DON'T: Delay Taking Important Action
are those who delay making decisions, and those who delay taking
action. Ferrari found that the decision-avoiders are dependent on
others, relying on them to make their minds up for them. They're more
submissive and prefer to pass the buck to someone else whom they can
blame them if it all goes wrong.
The task-avoiders, on the other
hand, are generally characterized by low self-esteem; they make a
decision but don't follow up on it. Of course a lot of people fall into
both categories, but the findings go some way in explaining the
different ways people procrastinate.
DO: Mind Your Work Habits From an Early Age
procrastination might seem merely a personality quirk, scientific
opinion is divided as to whether it can be put down to nature, or is the
product of a person's environment.
According to Ferrari and further research from Oklahoma State University, factors like
"time perspective" affect someone's likelihood to procrastinate. Time
perspective is how people understand and interpret their past, present
and future. For example, someone who focuses on the bad things in his
past is more prone to bitterness and resentment. Although it's possible
to modify your time perspective, it's thought to be rooted in
personality and linked to procrastination.
Other research, though,
has found that environment is also a contributing factor
in procrastination. The American Psychological Association, for
example, found that procrastination often starts at school, where a lack
of rigor in curricula and not being punished for missed deadlines can
breed time-wasting habits.
DON'T: Be Hypocritical About Other Procrastinators
one of his many studies into the behavioral habits of procrastinators,
Ferrari found that they are hyper-critical of their
fellow procrastinators. This is especially true of women. When
asked to the evaluate the poor performance of a co-worker who has the
same procrastinating tendencies and habits as themselves, workers were
harsher on them than their non-procrastinating co-workers.
DON'T: Get Sucked in by Cat Memes
trance you can go into when finding yourself scrolling through cat
memes or chatting an afternoon away has a name. It's called "flow". The
concept was coined by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and
was originally considered a good thing because it's a state of deep
engagement and absorption, as he abstractly explains in a Wired interview.
Thatcher and his colleagues at the University of the Witwatersrand in
South Africa wanted to understand more about flow in relation to two
other online behaviors: procrastination and problematic internet use.
They were trying figure out to what extent too much time online
was psychologically and socially harmful.