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Reading These Facts About Procrastination Does Not Count As Procrastination

It's cool, keep procrastinating. You can feel bad about it later. *All facts and studies found at: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2013/april-13/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination.html

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People often seem to brag about having procrastinated, or at least feel it necessary to tell you they procrastinated. But it's really just a defense mechanism...

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According to Joseph Ferrari, an Association for Psychological Science (APS) Fellow, “The chronic procrastinator, the person who does this as a lifestyle, would rather have other people think that they lack effort than lacking ability. It’s a maladaptive lifestyle.”

It's not a matter of not wanting to complete a task, it's a matter of being ill-prepared...

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Eric Jaffe, a writer for PsychologicalScience.org states that, "Procrastinators comfort themselves in the present with the false belief that they’ll be more emotionally equipped to handle a task in the future."

We think we're becoming better prepared for the task, but the closer the deadline looms, the more stressed we get...

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Fuchsia Sirois of Canada's Bishop University puts it rather succinctly when she says, "The future self becomes the beast of burden for procrastination. We're trying to regulate our current mood and thinking our future self will be in a better state. They'll be better able to handle feelings of insecurity or frustration with the task. That somehow we'll develop these miraculous coping skills to deal with these emotions that we just can't deal with right now."

What's more, the Internet isn't necessarily responsible for procrastination so much as our culture of instant gratification, which puts a high value on the quick fix we get from pleasurable activities...

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Again, from Mr. Jaffe, "The idea is that procrastinators calculate the fluctuating utility of certain activities: pleasurable ones have more value early on, and tough tasks become more important as a deadline approaches." This shouldn't be breaking news to anyone, but it bears mentioning.

Procrastination is linked to moods, which is bad news for a country with more than half its population on pharmaceuticals...

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Dianne Tice, another Research Fellow at APS conducted a study in 2001, in which she found that, "students didn’t procrastinate before an intelligence test when primed to believe their mood was fixed. In contrast, when they thought their mood could change (and particularly when they were in a bad mood), they delayed practice until about the final minute."

Put another way...

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Timothy Pychyl, of Carelton University, in Canda explains it like this: "Emotional regulation...is the real story around procrastination, because to the extent that I can deal with my emotions, I can stay on task. When you say task-aversiveness, that's another word for lack of enjoyment. Those are feeling states — those aren't states of which [task] has more utility."

Teachers, this one's for you: Apparently procrastination is more likely to occur when a task is framed as being important...

Via hercampus.com

APS Fellows Tice and Ferrari, "brought students into a lab and told them at the end of the session they'd be engaging in a math puzzle. Some were told the task was a meaningful test of their cognitive abilities, while others were told that it was designed to be meaningless and fun. Before doing the puzzle, the students had an interim period during which they could prepare for the task or mess around with games like Tetris. As it happened, chronic procrastinators only delayed practice on the puzzle when it was described as a cognitive evaluation." So teachers, frame your assignments as meaningless and fun exercises (that still have to be turned in on time)!

So in the immortal words of Ron Swanson...

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The science is in, "Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing." If you just give your whole ass to one thing, you'll be happier for it. And all those smaller pleasure pursuits you sought out instead of doing your work will be a hell of a lot more pleasurable after you've done that work.

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