Weekly Digest #29: Why do You Procrastinate, and What Can You do About it?
One of us (Yana) was asked by an undergraduate student to participate in an expert interview on procrastination for their College Writing class. Not being an actual expert on this – unless you count personal experience! – I had to quickly read up on the science behind procrastination. Luckily, there were quite a few accessible, evidence-based resources on procrastination out there. We thought our readers might also find them helpful, so here they are. Have fun procrastinating by reading them!
This journalistic piece on procrastination presents four theories:
- Procrastination is driven by impulsivity
- There is a genetic component to procrastination
- Procrastination could be related to central executive dysfunction
- Procrastination affects our relationship with our future selves
The article also busts a few myths about procrastination – in particular, the idea that it feels good. The article was strongly endorsed by Dr. Piers Steel, whose whole research program focuses on procrastination in the following tweet:
2) To Stop Procrastinating, Start by Understanding the Emotions Involved by Shirley S. Wang, @ShirleyWang
Now that you know the scientific basis behind procrastination, you can learn a bit more about how to combat it. This article covers some of the same ground as Resource #1 above, but also describes preliminary results from a promising intervention aimed at reducing procrastination. The article also provides 5 tips to get you started if you want to tackle procrastination in your own life. Maybe you can try them….tomorrow…
3) Beyond time management: Why we really procrastinate and how to finally stop by Belle Beth Cooper, @BelleBCooper
Ready to seriously tackle your procrastination problem? Then read this article, and apply the advice. Building on Resources #2 above, this article provides 8 strategies for beating procrastination – with concrete instructions for how to implement each one. No excuses now!
4) Brain Science Explains The Most Productive Ways To Procrastinate by Jane Porter, @janeporter00
If you’re going to procrastinate, you might as well do something productive. This article provides 5 ideas for ways to turn your pointless procrastination into…slightly less pointless procrastination. Using this advice (all based on scientific evidence, of course!), it seems that you may actually be able to trick yourself into doing something useful while procrastinating. For example, the author suggests using social media to hold yourself accountable to your to-do list – rather than as an idle way to waste your time.
Dr. Steel’s lab studies procrastination – in fact, much of the research cited in the resources above comes from his lab. On this website, you will find validated questionnaires to measure your procrastination levels and compare them to others, a thorough collection of definitions of procrastination from a number of dictionaries and other scholarly sources, numerous articles on procrastination, further ideas for how to procrastinate productively…and, of course, a whole host of tools for beating procrastination.
Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our 5 most recent digests can be found here: