Simple question – why do you procrastinate? And, no, not the “royal” you, the you you. Why do you procrastinate? And more importantly, how can you avoid procrastination?
I think the answer is that you procrastinate because avoiding doing what you are supposed to do is more appealing than the doing it. But why?
One hypothesis that I have heard many times before was put forward by Nic Voge in a TEDx talk. He thinks that we avoid things to protect our self-worth. If we don’t make a sale to “Jim Smith” because we called and tried and were turned down, that hurts our self-worth. But if we don’t make the sale to “Jum Smith” because we were busy fixing our website, well that’s not our fault and, in addition, we have a great website now 😊.
So how do we get over it? In a word, mindfulness. Nocola Shutte and Andrea del Pozo de Bolger showed that people who are more mindful were better able to sustain attention and also procrastinated less. I am sure it is not surprising. When we are being mindful of what we are doing and we are mindful or our goals and our mission, we are more likely to stay on track. Not much of a surprise.
And, as always, so much easier said than done. How can we stay mindful? How can we stay on track?
Perhaps, reminders? Marcus Eckert and his colleagues sent SMSs each day with messages like “Which task are you most likely going to postpone today?” or “What are the consequences if you decide not to do the task?” or “Remember a situation in which you overcame procrastination successfully. Try to remember this feeling of success before you will start another aversive task.” This really helped students stop procrastinating.
I have actually used this with a young lady I coached. There is an app that will send scheduled WhatsApp messages. I expected her to answer me as well so we could keep track and it was quite effective.
So, what system will you put in place to make sure you stay mindful? How will you ensure that you don’t procrastinate? Perhaps just an alarm on your phone!
What will be your Path to Personal Growth on the way to Self-Leadership?
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©2023 by Shaya Kass, PhD
You can reach Dr. Shaya Kass at Shaya@MindfulAboutLife.com or at 1-800-544-0559.
This newsletter is published by Dr. Shaya Kass and is meant for informational purposes only.
The articles discussed in this newsletter are:
Eckert, M., Ebert, D. D., Lehr, D., Sieland, B., & Berking, M. (2018). Does sms-support make a difference? Effectiveness of a two-week online-training to overcome procrastination. a randomized controlled Trial. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1103.
Schutte, N. S., & del Pozo de Bolger, A. (2020). Greater mindfulness is linked to less procrastination. International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 1–12.