Why are we our own worst enemy when it comes to doing what is important? Whether it’s planning meals, starting that project, or calling an old friend, the list can seem never ending. Our mind tells things don’t get done because we have no time but that’s not true. When we get down to the real reason why — something we always do on this podcast — it boils down to procrastination.
On today’s show we have on Timothy Pychyl, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education at Carleton University in Canada. He studies why and how people sabotage their best intentions with needless delay. He writes the Don’t Delay column at Psychology Today, is author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle and runs the Iprocrastinate Podcast. He is a leading thought leader and researcher in the area of procrastination, what he calls an “emotional management problem.” If you are human and live in modern times, you will relate and learn the steps for ending this bad habit for good.
Highlights from the Show
- When delaying a task is procrastination, and when it’s not (and why it’s important to understand the difference.)
- Why there really are no good forms of procrastination and the myth of “working better under pressure.”
- What self regulation is and why self-regulation failure is at the core of procrastination, avoiding negative emotions attached to certain tasks (or what Pychyl calls “giving in to feel good”).
- Understand the costs of procrastination and how to bring our “future self” closer and stop treating it like a stranger.
- Why it’s more difficult for children to be productive and what parents can do to help.
- How to help kids develop a sense of agency with their life and the parenting style linked most to procrastination in children.
- Why half the battle is defining what it is you actually want and making a commitment to achieving your goals.
- The power of mantras to break the procrastination cycle (hint: “just get started” is better than “just do it”).
- How to be mindful of the biases in your thinking that draws you into procrastination habit.
- How to use implementation intentions (when, then statements) to avoid common pitfalls that lead to more procrastinating.
- What you can do to boost motivation when you feel depleted and stressed.
- The four personality traits linked to procrastination (I only have two so there’s hope for me yet!).
- How time is our most precious commodity, and how to start using it effectively for a better life.
Quote from the Show
Procrastination isn’t a time management problem, it’s an emotional management problem. We have negative emotions attached to some tasks….we feel frustration, boredom, resentment or anxiety. By putting off the task, we put of those emotions and that’s the crazy self-defeating nature of it all. You can start by understanding you’re not broken as a time manager but you do have to start understanding your emotions better — Timothy Pychyl, PhD.
Connect with Dr. Pychyl
Psychology Today Column — Don’t Delay
Books by Dr. Pychyl
Solving the Procrastination Puzzle
Procrastination, Health and Well Being
John Perry “The Art of Procrastination”
Parker Palmer “The Courage to Teach”
Peter Gollwitzer NY University
David Allen’s Getting Things Done
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Podcast Music: Corporate Uplifting by Scott Holmes
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