How to Stop Procrastinating Once and for All
You’ve probably heard of emotional eating as a way of coping with stress. But did you know that procrastination is another emotional strategy for dealing with stressful situations? Most of us think of procrastination as a sign of poor time-management skills, but science proves it’s really your mind’s way of coping with anxiety.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “Scientists define procrastination as the voluntary delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences.” Have you ever been paralyzed with the feeling of wanting to do something so perfectly that you feel anxious about even getting started? We certainly have. Oftentimes we’ll do something “productive” like work out or grocery shop instead of doing the one thing we really should be doing. Researchers call this “moral compensation.”
One self-admitted procrastinator, office manager Ben Lockwood, says that his pattern of procrastinating fills him with self-loathing. “I think I’d rather tell someone I robbed a bank than tell them I procrastinate,” he tells the WSJ. We definitely understand the sense of shame that can come with procrastination. Research shows that people who are habitual procrastinators often have higher rates of depression and anxiety and poorer well-being.
So how do we silence the shame and rid ourselves of the anxiety and psychological discomfort that come with procrastinating? Psychologists Dr. Fuschia Sirois and Dr. Timothy Pychyl are focusing on a short-term mood repair treatment as an anti-procrastination strategy. Step 1: Recognize your anxiety at the start of a project. Step 2: Don’t judge yourself for having that anxiety. Step 3: Take the first step, even if it scares you. “If you’re an occasional procrastinator, quit thinking about your feelings and get to the next task,” says Dr. Pychyl. “But if you’re a chronic procrastinator, you might need therapy to better understand your emotions and how you’re coping with them through avoidance.”
For more tips on how to understand and treat procrastination, read the original Wall Street Journal article.
Shop our favorite planners to avoid procrastinating when the next big project rolls around.
What do you think of procrastination as an emotional crutch as opposed to a time management skill? Share with us in the comments.
Opening photo: via The Fashion Law