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Description: As we are entering the time of the academic year where brick walls loom and the s*%# hits the fan it seemed timely to have a look at procrastination. I mean it is not like we have other more pressing things to do, right? Virtually everyone procrastinates in some ways at some times. If you procrastinate (and notice that you do) what do you tell yourself about what it is and what you need to do about it? That you have little willpower and that you need to find some organizational skills and grit? But perhaps that is NOT what procrastination is about and perhaps thinking about it that way will NOT get you going. How about if we were to look at procrastination as a(n emotion-focused) coping strategy? What if we looked at it as strongly related to self-continuity? And what if we were to take on a strategy for dealing with it that essentially tells us to pay attention to everything else we want to do instead of focusing on what we HAVE to do? Think about what these shifts might mean in terms of how you think about procrastination and then read the two articles linked below to see what psychological research has to tell us that could really help us with our procrastination.

Source: The Smart Guide to Procrastination Zaria Gorvett, and Why Your Brain Loves to Procrastinate, Susannah Locke, Vox.

Date: March 26, 2019

Photo Credit: Vox/Shutterstock

Article Links : and

So, did you find some ideas or strategies you can use as finals and other bits of term-end fun loom?  The recent research on procrastination discussed in the linked articles are good examples of how psychological research digging into things we already think we know well and understand can sometimes come up with new, research supported,  ways of looking at, thinking about, and taking action in relation to aspects of our lives that we have been sort of stuck with  based on our unreflected (un unresearched!) assumption and explanations. So, what are you waiting for? Put one or two of the suggested new strategies in place and then get back to work of what you have to get done before term ends!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How do you understand and think about procrastination?
  2. What are two things you now know about procrastination (after having read the linked articles) that change or challenge something you knew before?
  3. What are some of the important things that psychological research can do for us in relation to bothersome or sometimes even dangerous thigs like procrastination?

References (Read Further):

Rahimi, S., Hall, N. C., & Pychyl, T. A. (2016). Attributions of responsibility and blame for procrastination behavior. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1179.

Gagnon, J., Dionne, F., & Pychyl, T. A. (2016). Committed action: An initial study on its association to procrastination in academic settings. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 5(2), 97-102.

Shanahan, M. J., & Pychyl, T. A. (2007). An ego identity perspective on volitional action: Identity status, agency, and procrastination. Personality and individual differences, 43(4), 901-911.

Rutchick, A. M., Slepian, M. L., Reyes, M. O., Pleskus, L. N., & Hershfield, H. E. (2018). Future self-continuity is associated with improved health and increases exercise behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24(1), 72.

Hershfield, H. E. (2018). The self over time. Current Opinion in Psychology.

Martiny-Huenger, T., Martiny, S. E., Parks-Stamm, E. J., Pfeiffer, E., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2017). From conscious thought to automatic action: A simulation account of action planning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 1513-1525.