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Why We Procrastinate and What to do About it

Stop Putting Things Off: Part One

written by Ray Williams June 6, 2019
Why We Procrastinate and What to do About it

Most of us have procrastinated about something at some time, and that is not abnormal. In contrast, habitual procrastinators repeatedly avoid doing things – particularly difficult things – and actively look for distractions. The following two-part article discusses reasons why we procrastinate and what we can do about it.

In an article about procrastination, John Riddle writes:

According to research from the American Psychological Association, nearly 20% of US men and women are chronic procrastinators.

Psychology Today proclaims that “perfectionists are often procrastinators; it is psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a task than to face the possibility of” not completing a task or achieving a goal successfully. The research shows that “procrastination,” as stated by Kendra Cherry, “can have a major [negative] impact” on your personal life and your job. In the more serious forms, procrastination – says Riddle – “can have a detrimental effect on one’s mental health.”

Defining Procrastination

Procrastination can be defined as: “the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished.” This definition goes on to say that it could also be described as “a habitual/intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite its negative consequences.” Piers Steel, the author of the book The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Donedefines procrastination a “voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.” In other words, he says, procrastination is doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones.

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