The talk by that title that I presented last week as part of The Meadows Lecture Series in Plano, Texas turned out to be a wonderful experience for me. I had planned to enter this post last Wednesday, but . . . well, what I can say? The group was very responsive and interactive. The topic was fun. I enjoyed their energy. Several points emerged clearly in our dialog.
1. Procrastination is not just avoiding a task. It is avoiding the emotions that accompany an uncomfortable task.
2. The most common rationalization from the group was, “I work better under pressure.”
3. The fears that promote procrastination are themselves affirmed and reinforced by the avoidant action of procrastination.
4. Sometimes people rearrange their priorities and chose one task over another, but it is not necessarily procrastination. The key is to weigh one task against another with life goals in view. The one that contributes more effectively to those ultimate goals is the more worthwhile course of action. Ruthless honesty is necessary to tell the difference between avoidance and proactive selection.
5. Many people (more than I thought) had overcome much of their procrastination by deciding to do a task for only five minutes. That is, the hardest part of any task is getting started and getting past the anticipation dread.
I was surprised to find so many web sites that deal with this topic. Most are fun. Most are useful.
- Procrastination Research Group, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada has some substantive research findings.
- Procrastination Research Group Podcasts provides podcasts of talks, but several people have complained about the low volume.
- International Society for the Promotion of Procrastination has some fun with it but has many useful links.
- The Prcrastinators Club of America also has some fun with it though I couldn’t find much content there.
- A delightful site from the University of Calgary is full of chuckles as well as more serious information. I smiled a lot at their long list of quotations.
Several sites offered “tests” for procrastination.
I wonder what the need to take a test to see if you are a procrastinator says about a person? Hmmm.
I’ll enter my next post when I get ’round tuit.