Why Do i Procrastinate

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  • M l zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

    1 zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBAWhy Do I Procraslinate?

    DreCliOllS:zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA START:zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA Find out why peop le p ro crast inat e. W * t Ad m i t t hat p ro crast inat io n wo rks fo r yo u .

    ^ 4* M easu re t he sever i t y o f yo ur p rob lem .

    Learn t o recognize t he urge t o p ro crast inat e.

    END: Co m m i t t o m aking a chang e.

    ThezyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA re is a good chance that yo u are reading this book because yo u are unhappy w ith yourself. You have probably been procrastinat-

    ing on things for some time, have tried to change on your o w n, and

    have not been very successful. If you are like most procrastinators,

    you have probably made promises to yourself that the next time

    you are faced w ith a task yo u w i l l not w ait until the last minute

    to get it done. In fact, yo u have probably made that promise more

    lhan once and have had trouble keeping it. This book is for people

    who:

    D o n t understand w hy they procrastinate.

    Feel bad about do ing it.

    W ish that they d id n't.

    W ant to change, but d o nt kno w how.

    Procrastination is hard to change. It is no t something yo u can

    |u si decide to give up and then completely let it go. It is a w ell-

  • THE PROCRASTIN ATOR'S GU IDE TO GETTIN G THIN GS DON I zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

    w o rn path in yo ur life, a habit tliai iszyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA SO automatli that It docii not require thought or planning. It is not li kc you open yo ur eyes In the

    mo rning and say, " I th ink I'm going to procrastinate today." Il is

    actually quite the opposite. You start yo urd ay saying thatzyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXW VUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA yOV w ill not take that path, fali into that habit, andzyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXW VUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA ye\ t r ea l l z i n g it y o u f i n d y o u r sel f t h er e a g a in . Pr o cr a st i n a t i o n m igh t be th a t sl igh t pause w h er e y o u i n t en d t o d o a task b u i h esi t a te an d t h en t u r n aw ay. M a y b e y o u rea ch fo r t h e p h on e t r a l i som con e a n d t h en ch an ge y o u r m i n d a n d t e l l y o u r sel f i h a i y o u w i l l d o i t l a t d O r y o u go t o t h e k i t ch en w i t h t h e i n t en t i o n o f w a sh i n g l h e d ish es, y o u see t h e m ess, a n d t h en y o u leave t h e r o o m l o d o so m et h i n g cise. Pr o cr a st i n a t i o n occu rs w h en y o u st a r t a t ask l i k f i p a y i n g y o u r b l is a n d t h en f in d y o u r se l f cl ea n i n g o u t a d ra w er i n st ea d . Il ' s a lso l hose t i m es w h en y o u f in d y o u r se l f sp en d i n g m ore t i m e g et t i n g ready t o d o a t a sk , l i k e st r a i g h t en i n g u p y o u r o f f i ce before y o u w o r k , t h a f t a ct u a l l y d o i n g t h e w o r k . I t is l i k e d r i v i n g d o w n t h e roacl t o w a r d y o u r d est i n a t i o n a n d t h en t u r n i n g o f f i n a n o t h er d i r ec t i o n at t h e l a st m o m en t .

    Pr o cr a st i n a t i o n is o u r co m f o r t zon e. It is w h ere w e feel t h e m o st a t ease. I t is f a m i l i a r . W e k n o w h o w t o d o i t . It doesn ' t ch a l -lenge us o r scare u s. Pr o cr a st i n a t i o n g ives us t em p o r a r y co m f o r t i n a w o r l d f u l l o f d em a n d s a n d u n cer t a i n t i es. I t is o u r rest st op o n t h e l o n g r o a d o f l i f e a n d r esp o n si b i l i t i es.

    Pr o cr a st i n a t i o n is a lso a n a l t er ed st a t e o f r ea l i t y . I t is o u r h a p p y p lace. I t a l l o w s us t o b el ieve t em p o r a r i l y t h a t w e have n o t h -i n g t o d o . I t pu sh es o u r t o - d o l i st so f a r o u t o f o u r m i n d s t h a t f o r a sh o r t w h i l e w e ca n a l m o st bel ieve t h e l i st does n o t ex i st . I t m akes us bel ieve w e deserve t o rest , r el a x, a n d t a k e i t easy. I t m akes us feel b o l d i n j u st i f y i n g o u r i n a c t i o n , i n a c t i v i t y , h esi t a t i o n , a n d a vo id -an ce.

    Pr o cr a st i n a t i o n is a r o a d b l o ck o n y o u r l i f e p a t h . I t slow s y o u r p rogress a n d som et im es t a kes y o u o f f cou rse a l t o g et h er .

    Pr o cr a st i n a t i o n is sed u ct i ve. I t a l l o w s y o u t o have a l i t t l e b i t o f j o y o r p leasu re o r r el i ef f r o m st ress. I t t a kes aw ay t h e t h i n g s y o u h a t e t o d o a n d rep laces t h em w i t h so m et h i n g b et t er . I t keeps y o u f r o m h a v i n g t o d ea l w i t h u n p l ea sa n t p eop le a n d d i f f i c u l t ch ores. I t

    W hy Do I Procrast ina t e?

    allows you to delay getting bad news. It gives yo u five more minutes

    in the comfort o f yo ur bed on a cold w inter mo rning.

    Procrastination is, however, only a disguise. It masks your true

    thoughts and feelings. It masquerades as laziness, but it is much more

    than that. O n the surface, procrastination looks like a comfortable,

    relaxing experience, but underneath it is fu ll o f guilt and self-loathing.

    Peacefulness is w hat we pretend to feel w hile we are procrastinating,

    yet it is anything but peaceful. W hile we are procrastinating we are

    w atching ourselves do it. We are criticiz ing the behavior. We are

    filled w i th guilt for p utting things off. We dread w hat w i l l happen

    if we w ait any longer to get started. We hate ourselves for do ing it

    and call ourselves names such as "lazy," "irresponsible," "uncaring,"

    "stupid ," and "worthless." We act like we are relieved not to have to

    deal w ith whatever we are try ing to ignore, but we are stressing on

    the inside, w o rry ing about w hat we w i l l eventually have to face. You

    have probably had experiences where yo u sat in fro nt o f the TV to

    w atch the news for a few moments before getting started on your

    chores but were distracted by thoughts o f w hat yo u needed to do

    next, so you missed w hat the announcer had to say. Or maybe for

    those extra few minutes you stayed in bed after turning o ff the alarm

    you lay there physically resting but mentally running through your

    list o f responsibilities for the day. During these times we know that

    by procrastinating we are probably making it worse. That makes us

    anxious and also robs us of the desire to take action.

    ThezyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA number one reason that we procrastinate is BECAUSE W E

    C A N . The majo rity o f the time things still get done and no real

    consequence is suffered. We get away w ith it w hen we are students

    by cramming at the last minute. We get away w i th it as adults

    by changing our minds and deciding not to do the task after ali.

    We get away w ith it at w o rk w hen another member of the team

    gets w o rried and picks up the slack. We get away w ith it at home

    because we can w ork around chores that are not finished or count

    On someone else do ing them for us. We may suffer consequences,

    but they are usually no t substantial. We get a late fee on our credit

    card bill or on our rent for no t sending a payment in on time. So

    what? We pay it and manage w itho ut the extra money.

  • THE PROCRASTIN ATOR'5 GU IDE TO GETTIN G IHIN GS IHIN I zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

    We live in a w o rld o f extra chances, lhe IRS w illzyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA givezyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA u s an extension w hen our taxes are not done on lime. There are grace periods that allow us to delay w itho ut penalty. II we lose an oppor-tunity , we can o ften find another one. We get warnings llial we are

    approaching a deadline. We get alerts w hen we are aboul lo run oul

    o f time, or power in our batteries, or minutes on our cell phones.

    For many everyday things we can afford to put things o ff a little,

    take our time, sit on it for a w hile, or sleep on it. Our modern w orld

    is fu l l o f opportunities to procrastinate.

    Ho w many times have you w aited u nti l the last minute but

    still gotten things done? Ho w many extensions have you needed?

    Ho w many apologies have you given for being late? Ho w many

    late fees have you paid? You are probably aware of the many tasks

    you have consciously avoided because yo u just d id nt feel like

    do ing them, but how many more do you think you unconsciously

    avoided? Consider ali these times w hen either no thing bad hap-

    pened or the consequence was small and not a big deal. You were

    able to get away w ith it.

    The big question is w hy we w o uld w ant to give it up. W hy do

    we feel guilty about it? W hy do we pledge time and time again to

    change our ways? The reason may be that procrastination works

    only in the short run. It provides only temporary relief. In the long

    run, it does not get us where we w ant to go. We feel angry at our-

    selves for it when we step back and see the stress that it causes and

    how it interferes w ith our lives. If we could ho ld on to the big picture

    and see clearly where we w ant to go in life, we w o uld choose no t to

    procrastinate. If we could remember how much trouble it causes,

    we probably w o uld n't procrastinate the next time. The problem is

    that we are so used to using procrastination as our coping strategy

    that we do it automatically, w itho ut considering the big picture. In

    the moment, w hen faced w ith something unpleasant, we just w ant

    to detour around it, and so we avoid, delay, put off, forget about,

    and otherwise procrastinate on it.

    Procrastination is a common behavior. Some do it more than

    others. This book probably caught your attention because, just like

    me, yo u are not a blissful procrastinator. You w ant to change. That

    desire makes ali the difference.

    4

    W hy Do I Procrast ina t e? zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXW VUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

    A Persona l N ot e

    Like everyone e/se, / don ' t l ike do ing t asks t ha t a re unp leasan t o r st ressfu l. There a re som e t h ings I w ou ld l ike t o avo id f o rever , bu t t ha t is usua lly no t possib le in m y w o r ld . I don ' t l ike t ha t f eeling o fhesit a t ion w here m y m ind does a qu ick t ug o fw a r w it h m y em o t ions: " You shou ld do t ha t now ." " N o , I don ' t w an t t o ! " I f eel m y gu t t igh t en ing and a p ressu re in m y chest . M y upb r ing ing leads m e t o f eel a sensa t ion o f gu il t w h ile t h is is happen ing . Som et im es t he gu il t f o r t h ink ing abou t pu t t ing som et h ing o f f is m ore unp leasan t t han t he d read o f do ing t he t ask. It 's bet t er i f l ju st do t he t h ing t ha t I am avo id ing and get i t over w it h . M ygoa l is t o st op t he t ug o fw a r and eit her pu t o f f a t ask in t en t iona lly , w it h good reason , and en joy m y m om en t o f rel ief o r just get up and t ake ca re o f t he t ask t ha t is nagg ing a t m e.

    W ha t / syour goa l? zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

    Procrast inat ion Is a Way t o Cope

    If you are like most people, yo u probably associate procrastination

    w ith laziness. That is most likely because your parents or teachers

    to ld yo u to stop being lazy whenever they saw yo u put your w o rk

    aside to relax, have some fun, w atch TV, goof off, spend time on the

    computer, talk to your friends, or do anything else they thought

    was a waste o f time. I remember teachers saying things like "Never

    put o ff ti l l to mo rro w w hat yo u can do today" or "Do n't d illy -d ally "

    or "You have to get your w o rk done before you can go out and play."

    M y mo m had a few co lorful words in Spanish for laziness that I

    w o uld hear w hen I was parked in fro nt o f the television instead of

    doing my chores.

    W hat I have come to learn thro ugh my personal experience as

    a mo m, a psychologist, and a college professor is that there is much

    more to procrastination than laziness. Behind most procrastination

    is a task or activ ity that the person w o uld like to get out o f do ing if

    5

  • mi muzyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXW VUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA HASIIN AIOHS aaioi 10 ai um; HU N OS M IN I zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

    izyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA ih i could Often Ti is someth ing that the per ion believes w i l l zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBAblzyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA l i . u . lzyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA i n i l i i .zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA unpleasant, or even painlul in some WY |ui1 lhe thoUght o l i i Jtirs uncomfortablr leclings like anxirly , dread, or angei Procrastination is a way o f shutting dow n i hose bad feelings. I n i his way, it is a type o f self-preservalion, a vvav lo eope.

    "51zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcbaZYXW VUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA A Persona l N ot e I t each co llege st uden t s in t he Psycho logy Depa r t m en t a t t he U n iversit y o f Texas a t Ar l ing t on . It is a g rea t dea l o f f un f o r m e, and m y st uden t s seem t o en joy m y classes as w ell. I am one o f t hose p ro fesso rs, how ever , w ho m ake t heir st uden t s w r it e papers as pa r t o f t heir cou rse requ irem en t s, and I neveraccep t la t e papers un less t here is a ver if iab le m ed ica i em ergency. W hen I Fir st began t o do t h is, I go t lo t s oFca lls f rom st uden t s w it h in t he last f ew days befo re t he assignm en t w as due, ask ing abou t t he inst ruct ions f o r t he paper . Clea r ly t hey had w a it ed un t i l t he last m inu t e, and m ost o f t he t im e t heir papers ended up show ing a lack o fp repa ra t ion . M y st uden t s a re qu it e in t el l igen t , so t heirpoo rper fo rm ance w as no t due t o lack o f b ra inpow er . It w as due t o p rocrast ina t ing and runn ing ou t o f t im e.

    In subsequen t sem est ers I t ook t im e t o ask st uden t s ea r ly in t he sem est er i f t hey w ere having t roub le get t ing st a r t ed on t heir papers. M any had no t st a r t ed and had no idea how t o beg in . Severa l vo iced fea r t ha t t hey w ou ld " do i t w rong " and w ere st uck in t heir f ea r . Som e w ere busy having fun and t o ld t hem selves t ha t t hey had a l i t he t im e in t he w o r ld and w ere no t a t a l i w o r r ied abou t i t .

    Theyshou ld have been w or r ied . W ha t t heyshow ed m e is t ha t p rocrast ina t ion is no t laziness o r ir responsib i l i t y . It...

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