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Procrastination: the quintessential self-regulatory failure

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“He who begun has half done” – Horace , Roman poet

Procrastination has been deemed the quintessential self-regulatory failure -- putting off tasks despite knowing you will be worse off as a consequence.

Here’s how Wikipedia defined procrastination:

In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.”

The essence of procrastination -- misplaced priorities.  Procrastinator understands the he/she is spending time of task that has lower priority and importance then postponed tasks but he can do nothing with this his urge to avoid staring really important tasks.  It is already evident  in people in school during study for exam. Often procrastinators are also "pack rats" and suffer from hoarding.  To a certain degree procrastination it can be regarded as a useful way to prioritize between tasks, due to a lower tendency of procrastination on truly valued tasks (for most people). But if priorities are badly misplaced like in chronic/malignant procrastinators (who, for example, demonstrate great increase interest in watching TV during the time when they should study for the exam ;-), consequences can be very negative.  25% of chronic procrastinators abandon higher education (college dropouts). In a way, procrastination is the art of avoiding required tasks by allocating tremendous amount of time on actions more useless, mundane, or interesting.

In a way, procrastination is the art of avoiding required tasks by allocating tremendous amount of time on actions more useless, mundane, or interesting

One of the most common causes  for procrastination is addiction to browsing of web sites.  Temptation to browse social web sites and new outlets is most common source of procrastination for system administrators and programmers. Who can waste tremendous amount of time on this "hobby". Often is takes such a form that willpower is not enough and the whole thing resemble the classic picture of addiction. Although pharmacologically "Internat addition" is misnomer is come surprisingly close as Internet is yet another stimulant. Withdrawal of which BTW can create symptoms close to typical symptoms of withdrawal.

Another is excessive perfectionism. You delay the start of working on the project as you can't make it perfect.  In this case procrastination is a way to avoid failure because because of pursuing unattainable goals. Unrealistic expectations destroy self-esteem.  To overcome procrastination, it is essential to recognize and accept your failures as something that can happen from time to time and accept them as fact of life without condemning

There are some habits/behaviors patterns that help to  reduce procrastination:

Making a plan to daily tasks and enforcing it via controlling 60 min slots is probably the most productive way to avoid procrastination. But sometimes, instead of scheduling,  it may be better to execute tasks in a flexible, unstructured schedule which has time slots for only necessary activities.[33]

Using one's "power hours" (being a "morning person" or "night owl") also helps. A good approach is to creatively utilize one's internal circadian rhythms that are best suited for the most challenging and productive work. Steel states that it is essential to have realistic goals, to tackle one problem at a time and to cherish the "small successes". Brian O'Leary supports that "finding a work-life balance...may actually help us find ways to be more productive", suggesting that dedicating leisure activities as motivation can increase one's efficiency at handling tasks. Procrastination is  a lifelong trait so consistent efforts are neede to avoid sliding back into usual pattern.   Procrastination is noticeable, stable trait for probably 25% of adult population.

You can also use  "cheating ": using a pyramid scheme to reinforce the unpleasant tasks needed to be completed in a quasi-prioritized order.

Here are some quotes from Procrastination- Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now- Burka, Jane B., Yuen, Lenora M. (which is in general is a  garbage book with too much psychoanalytical nonsense; useful material can be condensed in the 25 page article):

Many procrastinators find that their delaying seems to have a life and will of its own. They compare the experience of procrastination to living on an emotional roller coaster. Their moods rise and fall as they attempt to make progress, yet they inevitably slow down. When they anticipate starting a project and then work toward its completion, procrastinators undergo a sequence of thoughts, feelings, and behav- iors that is so common that we call it the “cycle of procrastination.”

...At the outset, procrastinators are usually very hopeful. When you first undertake a project, the possibility exists that this time it will be done in a sensible and systematic way. Although you feel unable or unwilling to start right now, you may believe the start will somehow spontaneously occur, with no planned effort on your part. It is only after some time has elapsed and it becomes apparent that this time may not be different after all that your hope changes into apprehension.

The time for an early start has passed, and illusions of doing the project right this time are fading. Your anxiety builds and the pressure to begin intensifies. Having almost lost hope for the spontaneous start, you now begin to feel pushed to make some effort to do something soon. But the deadline is not yet in sight, so some hope remains.

As time passes and you still haven’t made a start, it is no longer a question of the ideal beginning, or even of the push to get going. By now, any remaining optimism has been replaced by foreboding. Imagining that you may never start, you may have visions of possible consequences

...t is extremely common for procrastinators at this stage to do everything and anything except the avoided project. The urge to reorganize the desk, clean the apartment, or try out new recipes suddenly becomes irresistible. Previously avoided but less onerous tasks cry out to be done now. In no time you are busy accomplishing things, happily absorbed in any activity that is not it, soothed by the rationalization, “Well, at least I’m getting something done!” Sometimes distracting activity seems so productive that you actually believe you are making progress on The Project Eventually, however, it becomes clear that it still isn’t done.

...Many procrastinators try to distract themselves with pleasurable, immediately rewarding activities. You may watch movies, play games, get together with friends, or spend the weekend hiking while the shadow of the unfinished project looms.

...As time drags on and nothing is done, procrastinators begin to feel ashamed. You don’t want anyone to know of your predicament, so you may create ways to cover up.

...

The World of a Perfectionist

Often without realizing it, people who procrastinate are perfectionists. In an attempt to prove they are good enough, they strive to do the im- possible, thinking that they should have no problem at all reaching their lofty goals. They usually put unrealistic demands on themselves and then feel overwhelmed when they are unable to meet them. Dis- couraged, they retreat from the demands by procrastinating.

Most procrastinators don’t understand how they could possibly be considered perfectionists when everywhere they turn they find evi- dence of how they have messed up. Gary, a self-employed Web site designer, sees himself this way: “I always do things in a half-baked way. I do a rushed job at the last minute and sometimes I don’t even see proj- ects through to the end. How in the world can I be a perfectionist?” Psychologists have identified two types of perfectionists, adaptive and maladaptive.' If you are an adaptive perfectionist, you have high standards, and you believe your performance lives up to them. This kind of successful perfectionism feels like an essential part of your identity and is a basis for self-esteem.

However, if you are a maladaptive perfectionist, you, too, have high standards, but you are disappointed in yourself. In maladaptive perfectionism, there is a discrepancy between your standards and the way you view your performance...

...The all-or-nothing view of life is common among perfectionists who procrastinate. A person who believes that he or she must do everything usually has difficulty appreciating any progress made toward a goal: as long as the project is incomplete, it seems that nothing at all has been accomplished. As one perfectionist put it, “It’s either gold or it’s garbage.” No wonder it’s so tempting to give up in despair before reaching the end!

The all-or-nothing notion can affect a person’s initial formulation of goals, leading him or her to attempt to do everything at once because anything less seems insufficient...

You’d think that you’d only be tempted to procrastinate when you believe that you have plenty of time to get all your work done.  But the truth is quite a different story.  When I have one client waiting for a specification, another waiting on code, a third on help debugging a problem, and a fourth on a weekly article that I promised to some magazine, guess what I do?  Apply software updates, read my feeds, chat with somebody, check Web stats, anything but work on what so urgently demands my attention.  

On the other hand, when I only have a few well laid-out tasks to perform, then I’m ready to get them done and check them off.

Action steps

  1. Do what you hate first so you are done with them and can focus on what you love instead. This is the theory of saving the best for last. So, if you need to do the dishes, get going, they still need to be done!
  2. Create the list of critical projects (no more then 3) and review the list weekly. Note the progress of lack of thereof. Break each critical project into steps and steps into 1-2 hour blocks
  3. Create  deadlines for key steps of  critical project. This is important. Reward yourself for achieving the deadline.
  4. Control how you spend time putting reporting how you have spend each hour block into daily scheduler

Again, fighting procrastination is all about changing habits. But it is serious problem and is deeply entrenched in our lifestyle. So it is not easy. Relapses are possible.

To motivate your self use memorable one-liners for example from Eat That Frog!- 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Here is one interesting review from Eat That Frog!- 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

John W. Pearson "John Pearson Associates" (San Clemente, CA, USA)

Procrastination Smorgasbord Antidotes, January 19, 2012

Stop whining about your overwhelming workload--and listen up! Author Brian Tracy has good news and bad news for you. "...the fact is that you are never going to get caught up. You will never get on top of your tasks. You will never get far enough ahead to be able to get to all those books, magazines, and leisure time activities that you dream of."

The author and executive coach adds, "And forget about solving your time management problems by becoming more productive. No matter how many personal productivity techniques you master, there will always be more to do than you can ever accomplish in the time you have available to you, no matter how much it is."

The good news? Frogs!

He quotes Mark Twain's wit and wisdom, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."

So Tracy serves up two frog rules and 21 ways to stop procrastinating and accomplish more in less time.

Time management books are a dime a dozen. So what's different about this one--and why should you read it?

Instead of tasting the frogs, taste these chapter titles:


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[Aug 05, 2020] Procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions

Notable quotes:
"... Procrastination also involves a degree of self-deception : At some level, procrastinators are aware of their actions and the consequences, but changing their habits requires even greater effort than completing the task in front of them. Contents ..."
"... When people procrastinate, their present self benefits by avoiding unpleasant work, but their future self pays the price in stress or punishment . Developing empathy for one's future self as one would for a close friend, then, can be an important first step to ending the habit, because we're less willing to put a good friend in such a disadvantaged position ..."
Aug 05, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Everyone puts things off sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination tends to reflect a person's struggles with self-control . For habitual procrastinators, who represent approximately 20 percent of the population, "I don't feel like it" comes to take precedence over their goals or responsibilities, and can set them on a downward spiral of negative emotions that further deter future effort.

Procrastination also involves a degree of self-deception : At some level, procrastinators are aware of their actions and the consequences, but changing their habits requires even greater effort than completing the task in front of them. Contents

Understanding Procrastination

Procrastinators are often perfectionists , for whom it may be psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a job than to face the possibility of not doing it well. They may be so highly concerned about what others will think of them that they put their futures at risk to avoid judgment.

Some procrastinators contend that they perform better under pressure, but while they may be able to convince themselves of that, research shows it is generally not the case; instead, they may make a habit of last-minute work to experience the rush of euphoria at seemingly having overcome the odds.

Why do I procrastinate?

Procrastination is driven by a variety of thoughts and habits but fundamentally, we avoid tasks or put them off because we do not believe we'll enjoy doing them , and want to avoid making ourselves unhappy, or we fear that we won't do them well. People may also procrastinate when they are confused by the complexity of a task (such as filing one's taxes) or when they're overly distracted or fatigued.

What are the psychological roots of procrastination?

Psychologists have identified various drivers of procrastination, from low self-confidence to anxiety , a lack of structure, and, simply, an inability to motivate oneself to complete unpleasant tasks. Research has also shown that procrastination is closely linked to rumination , or becoming fixated on negative thoughts.

Does procrastination serve any purpose? Why are we so sure we'll actually do something later? Who is most likely to procrastinate? Why do teens procrastinate? The Consequences of Procrastination

Procrastination may relieve pressure in the moment, but it can have steep emotional, physical, and practical costs. Students who routinely procrastinate tend to get lower grades, workers who procrastinate produce lower-quality work, and in general, habitual procrastinators can experience reduced well-being in the form of insomnia or immune system and gastrointestinal disturbance. Procrastination can also jeopardize both personal and professional relationships.

... ... ...

How can I stop procrastinating?

Studies based on The Procrastination at Work Scale, which identifies 12 common forms of workplace procrastination, have highlighted some potential solutions, such as adopting timelines that build in time for delay, but not too much ; making a personal challenge out of mundane tasks; breaking large jobs into achievable chunks you can celebrate completing; and limiting your access to online news and social media.

How can a procrastinator change their mindset?

When people procrastinate, their present self benefits by avoiding unpleasant work, but their future self pays the price in stress or punishment . Developing empathy for one's future self as one would for a close friend, then, can be an important first step to ending the habit, because we're less willing to put a good friend in such a disadvantaged position.

... ... ...

[Aug 05, 2020] Having Trouble Getting Started

Notable quotes:
"... Any progress is progress . ..."
"... You Don't Have to Like It -- Just Do It ..."
"... Break Tasks into Smaller, Right-Sized Chunks ..."
"... Don't get stuck in fear or trying to make it perfect. ..."
"... Think Ahead; Create an If-Then Plan. ..."
"... Invest in Your Well-Being as You Progress. ..."
Aug 05, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

7 Practical Strategies to Get Unstuck, Get Started, and Stay on Track

1. Any progress is progress . Wrap your brain around the idea that even minimal progress toward a goal, can help you get unstuck and begin forward momentum toward achieving it. Choose one small piece of the goal and get started. Start with low hanging fruit -- a task that seems easier to begin with. Even small bits of progress toward a goal can enliven you to feel more positive about the objective and your potential (Sheldon, 2004). And then these small steps -- one by one -- begin to add momentum toward your objective.

2. Just Start. Once you begin the task you will often discover it's not as "bad" as you'd anticipated or feared. Sometimes, once you begin, you might wish you'd started sooner creating more time to work. Taking one small step at a time gets the ball rolling down the hill toward completion and accomplishment.

For example, Fred has a project that's due in one week. He feels stuck and is avoiding the project. Finally, he gets unstuck by taking just the first step.

3. You Don't Have to Like It -- Just Do It . To achieve a goal, your current level of motivation does not have to be high. "We can do something even if we don't feel like it" (Pychyl, 2010). Just beginning the task can positively shift your motivation and attitude.

4. Break Tasks into Smaller, Right-Sized Chunks . Get a reasonable understanding of what's needed to complete the task effectively and on time. Chunk the steps by making a list of what needs to be done to reach your target.

As you break the task into small, manageable, reasonable steps -- be honest about with yourself about what you can accomplish in a particular time frame. Allow yourself relaxation and rewards as you complete steps. Keep track of your progress and adjust tasks and your commitments as needed.

5. Don't get stuck in fear or trying to make it perfect. Remind yourself to be reasonable about what you expect from yourself, others, and the situation (Brown University, 2008). Gently offer yourself kindness and self-compassion -- remember you are human as we all are (Neff, 2011).

6. Think Ahead; Create an If-Then Plan. Prepare ahead for what you'll do when the going gets tough (Legrand, Bieleke, Gollwitzer & Mignon, 2017; Oettingen & Gollwitzer, 2010).). An if-then plan can stimulate your capacity to overcome challenges and shift "I can't" and "I don't want to" toward "I can" and "Yes, I am."

Automatic contingencies like these examples can help in many situations:

7. Invest in Your Well-Being as You Progress. Remember that your most valuable asset is yourself, so invest some time and energy for self-care to refresh and renew. Renowned leadership expert Stephen Covey (2003) had a wonderful term for this renewal that he called "sharpening the saw." Taking some time to care for your own well-being can pay off big time to help yourself get unstuck, get started, and stay on track. For example, pay attention to getting adequate sleep and exercise, eating healthfully, and pausing for a bit of mindfulness / meditation (Walker, 2017; Green, 2002).

This post is for educational purposes and should not substitute for psychotherapy with a qualified professional.

References

[Aug 05, 2020] Procrastivity (a.k.a. Sneaky Avoidance) and Adult ADHD Coping (Part 1) by J. Russell Ramsay

Highly recommended!
Procrastivity tasks are tasks that are uses as a replacement/displacement for critical tasks. Often this is compulsive browsing the WEB. or engaging in Internet chat or similar social sites related activites.
Notable quotes:
"... Procrastination has been deemed the quintessential self-regulatory failure -- putting off tasks despite knowing you will be worse off as a consequence. ..."
"... Procrastivity is a way to gain smaller-sooner comfort by getting something done, but at the cost of the larger-later and often more important payoff from finishing the priority task. ..."
"... Everyone -- ADHD or not -- puts off tasks, including via procrastivity. Adults with ADHD, though, are at greater risk for experiencing more significant negative effects and impairments from it. ..."
"... But what is it about these procrastivity tasks that make them magically more enticing than the priority tasks? The laundry and yard work themselves likely had been objects of procrastination before. Why the motivation to do them now? ..."
"... Compared with priority tasks, procrastivity tasks have the following features: ..."
"... They tend to be manual or "hands on" ..."
"... They offer a familiar script of onboarding steps for getting started ..."
"... There is a clearer sense of making and maintaining progress ..."
"... There is a clear end point ..."
"... Even in cases of a clear deadline, such as for homework or taxes, there is uncertainty about how much progress will be made during the time spent on the priority task, which opens the door for escape to a task with greater certainty. ..."
"... In fact, many people are willing to devote more time and energy to a procrastivity task than to the priority task because the certainty of the outcome is more desirable to one's sense of efficacy, the belief that one can do it. Thus, two hours of yard work is preferable to 45 minutes working on taxes. ..."
"... Rethinking adult ADHD: Helping clients turn intentions into actions ..."
Jul 16, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Part 1: Lessons learned that can help you turn procrastination against itself

Procrastination has been deemed the quintessential self-regulatory failure -- putting off tasks despite knowing you will be worse off as a consequence. 1

Seeing as ADHD itself is a developmental problem of self-dysregulation -- a chronic, persistent delay in the acquisition and employment of the foundational self-regulatory capacities, known as the executive functions -- it is no surprise that procrastination is among, if not the most commonly cited presenting problem faced by adults with ADHD seeking treatment.

Procrastivity is a sneaky form of procrastination, a sort of Trojan horse of avoidance. Also known as productive procrastination, procrastivity is defined as putting off one's priority task to escape to a lower priority, but still productive task. 2 Procrastivity is at play when a college student is suddenly driven to do laundry rather than writing a paper, or mowing the lawn is more important than working on income taxes.

Procrastivity is a way to gain smaller-sooner comfort by getting something done, but at the cost of the larger-later and often more important payoff from finishing the priority task.

Getting ready to get ready is not doing! Source: Russell Ramsay

Everyone -- ADHD or not -- puts off tasks, including via procrastivity. Adults with ADHD, though, are at greater risk for experiencing more significant negative effects and impairments from it.

But what is it about these procrastivity tasks that make them magically more enticing than the priority tasks? The laundry and yard work themselves likely had been objects of procrastination before. Why the motivation to do them now?

A reverse engineering of procrastivity and the nature of the tasks used to avoid higher priorities offer some important lessons about their particular features. In turn, these lessons can be co-opted and used to increase the ability to stay on track with the more important, high-priority tasks.

Compared with priority tasks, procrastivity tasks have the following features:

  1. They tend to be manual or "hands on": Procrastivity tasks tend to be more manual or hands-on than priority tasks. Priority tasks, on the other hand, are more mentally challenging, exacting greater cognitive load, such as administrative tasks, writing, homework, and many others. Even among these intellectual tasks, such as different homework assignments, there is a personal rock-paper-scissors algorithm of difficulty, such as "writing is harder than reading" and "reading is harder than a problem set."
  2. They offer a familiar script of onboarding steps for getting started: For the procrastivity steps mentioned above, laundry and mowing the lawn, there is a clear, well-rehearsed set of steps to perform for getting started that is viewed as more "doable" than the higher priority task. This makes getting started on those tasks easier and probably fuels justifications for escape in the form of the thought "I'll do this other thing first, then I'll me 'in the mood' for the priority task." (Have you ever really been "in the mood" for laundry or taxes?)
  3. There is a clearer sense of making and maintaining progress: With procrastivity tasks, you can see the laundry and lawn getting done with a corresponding decrease in the amount of time and effort remaining, a countdown until the task is done. With most priority tasks, more than one work session is required, such as writing a paper or completing taxes, and there is a possibility of surprises or difficulties with the task that could conceivably end up taking more time and effort than was originally anticipated. At the very least, this uncertainty creates a feeling of discomfort that is strong enough to nudge a person towards the procrastivity task -- often even despite knowing that they are procrastinating. (Although not a true emotion, I've used the description of "ugh" as the discomforting feeling associated with that uncertainty. 3 )
  4. There is a clear end point: There is a clear stopping point with most procrastivity tasks at the job is completed and off the to-do list. This fact comes with a visceral sense of satisfaction of task completion, even with chores and other administrative matters. This positive feeling is underestimated despite the fact that procrastivity tasks are not the most existentially fulfilling matters. It feels good to get things done. Due to the vagaries and uncertainties inherent in many priority tasks, it is difficult to determine an exact end point that one is confident can be reached, at least compared to that offered by the procrastivity task.

Even in cases of a clear deadline, such as for homework or taxes, there is uncertainty about how much progress will be made during the time spent on the priority task, which opens the door for escape to a task with greater certainty.

In fact, many people are willing to devote more time and energy to a procrastivity task than to the priority task because the certainty of the outcome is more desirable to one's sense of efficacy, the belief that one can do it. Thus, two hours of yard work is preferable to 45 minutes working on taxes.

So, how are these lessons repurposed to help stay on track with priorities?

Part 2 of this blog will focus on turning these characteristics of procrastivity into coping strategies that you can "do" to increase the likelihood that you can more often and more effectively initiate and follow through on personally-relevant objectives, or, said simply, turn your intentions into actions.

References

  1. Steel, P. (2011). The procrastination equation . Harper Collins.
  2. Procrastivity. (n.d.). In Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=procrastivity Getting ready to get ready is not doing! Source: Russell Ramsay
  3. Ramsay, J. R. (2020). Rethinking adult ADHD: Helping clients turn intentions into actions . American Psychological Association.

[Aug 02, 2020] Procrastivity (or Sneaky Avoidance) and Adult ADHD Coping(Part 2) by J. Russell Ramsay

Notable quotes:
"... procrastivity – a form of procrastination defined as putting off one's priority task by escaping to a lower priority, but still productive task ..."
"... Make the task more manual and actionable, at the very least for getting started ..."
"... Script out the initial onboarding steps for engagement ..."
"... Create a "bounded task" plan with a start- and end-time ..."
"... Creating a "bounded task" plan is akin to defining the other end of the swimming pool so that we can allocate our efforts to reach an end point. The ideal is to set an appointment for a task with a reasonable, minimal time frame and a specific clock time, such as "At 9 a.m. on Saturday, I'll spend at least 30 minutes on my tax plan, ending at 9:30 a.m." ..."
"... However, particularly for adults with ADHD, if they would have set out to work that long, they would have been at risk for thoughts and feelings related to the idea "I'm not up for this right now" or "I'm not in the mood to work that long" and have abandoned the plan before starting. In fact, a recent study indicated that knowing in advance when a neuropsychological test would end resulted in better performance compared with those who were not told ..."
"... Define a minimal, achievable task objective that provides a target for completion ..."
"... We often underestimate the positive feeling associated with getting things done, even the "have-to" tasks of life ..."
Jul 26, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Part 2: Coping tips for turning intentions into actions.

Part 1 of this discussion focused on the reverse engineering of procrastivity – a form of procrastination defined as putting off one's priority task by escaping to a lower priority, but still productive task . 1 In that earlier post I outlined, the elements of these escape tasks that make them more desirable, at least when facing a more challenging priority task, particularly for adults with ADHD .

Part 2 focuses on taking these elements and re-purposing them to overcome procrastination. The tips listed below can be used to get jump started and increase the likelihood of getting engaged with something that you want to do rather than succumbing to procrastivity or other forms of ill-advised avoidance:

1) Make the task more manual and actionable, at the very least for getting started : Procrastivity tasks tend to more manual or hands-on, such as mowing the lawn versus working on taxes. What's more, tasks that are framed in broad, non-specific ways, such as "do taxes," "do homework," or "exercise" run the risk of laying bare ambivalence and discomforts associated with them along with now facing the question, "Where do I start?"

Thus, a way to increase the odds of getting started on the priority task is to define the smallest, actionable step that answers the "Where do I start? question. More important is to frame it is behavioral, "doable" terms that somehow force you to "touch" the task.

Most often, this step is not anything productive, but is still necessary, such as getting oneself to the place where the task is to be done or gathering need items. Hence, a manual step for taxes is "collect envelopes that say 'important tax document enclosed" and take them to the kitchen table" or wherever it is to be done. For a student, the manual step might be "get to the library" or "open the essay file." For exercise, first steps might be "get out exercise clothes," "put air in the bike tires," or even "get air pump from the basement."

It seems basic, but adults with ADHD often have difficulties with sequencing steps and managing the subtle emotional discomfort associated with switching to such tasks (deemed the "ugh" feeling 2 ) that trigger an impulsive escape to something else other than the planned task. Taking these initial steps is designed to set off a launch sequence of associations that will promote follow through on the priority.

2) Script out the initial onboarding steps for engagement : Despite the aforementioned ideas for getting off to a good start, it is useful to list out a few more actionable onboarding steps. For taxes they might be "open envelopes and lay out forms;" for the student and homework it might be "check online syllabus to confirm the homework" or "re-read the essay draft;" and for exercise these additional steps might be "choose exercise playlist" or "gather helmet, bike shoes, and glasses." Again, none of these steps are necessarily making any progress, yet, but are akin to wading into the swimming pool and increase the odds for engagement. None of these steps guarantee follow through – but they function to turn the abstract idea of what we plan to do into specific steps, each one increasing the likelihood that we will do the next step and in this process the task has been started, not unlike progressive exposure steps for facing anxiety .

3) Create a "bounded task" plan with a start- and end-time : Most priority tasks will require more than one work session to finish it, such as taxes or an essay, or persistent efforts across time, such as exercise. Often, these tasks are approached with the plan to "work on it for a few hours," "get as far as I can," or some other either unclear or unrealistic time frame.

We often do not do things we like for "a few hours," much less many work tasks. Creating a "bounded task" plan is akin to defining the other end of the swimming pool so that we can allocate our efforts to reach an end point. The ideal is to set an appointment for a task with a reasonable, minimal time frame and a specific clock time, such as "At 9 a.m. on Saturday, I'll spend at least 30 minutes on my tax plan, ending at 9:30 a.m."

Once started, people often continue working on that priority task for at least a little longer than planned, which is a bonus. However, particularly for adults with ADHD, if they would have set out to work that long, they would have been at risk for thoughts and feelings related to the idea "I'm not up for this right now" or "I'm not in the mood to work that long" and have abandoned the plan before starting. In fact, a recent study indicated that knowing in advance when a neuropsychological test would end resulted in better performance compared with those who were not told. 3

4) Define a minimal, achievable task objective that provides a target for completion : Another aspect of procrastivity tasks is that they tend to offer clear stopping points when the task is done, such as mowing the lawn. Time-bounding mentioned above is helpful on this front to at least provide a time-based definition for being done, at least for a particular work block.

Task-bounding is an option for many tasks, such as "unload the dishwasher" or a "10-mile bike ride," but the main issue is making sure the task is seen as being "doable" – it is better to set a lower bar to increase the odds of engagement ("Maybe if I at least unload the top rack of the dishwasher"). Being able to reach points of completion helps promote efficacy for the task, even basic ones, such as "enter name, address, and other basic info on online tax form" or "I'll at least do the aerobic part of my workout."

If people end up stopping after those accomplishments, that is fine – they did not procrastinate. Most often, after getting over the hurdle of initial ambivalence and "ugh" feelings, people most often keep going, reach a stopping point, and feel much better as a consequence. We often underestimate the positive feeling associated with getting things done, even the "have-to" tasks of life

The valuation and prioritization of tasks is a personal matter that is fit to one's situation. The purpose of outlining procrastivity and lessons learned from it is to allow individuals to make informed decisions about how they spend themselves and their time, energy, and effort. Indeed, it is perfectly reasonable to decide that one does not want to deal with taxes or homework on a particular day and instead focus on procrastivity tasks (or simply having down time, which itself is a worthwhile "task"). When procrastination runs the risk of causing problems, though, it is helpful to have a model for understanding how one slipped into it and corresponding strategies for engaging in avoided tasks.

As with other coping strategies for adult ADHD , there is nothing shocking in these suggestions – there are no trade secrets for how to cope with ADHD, but it is an implementation issue. That said, these sorts of adaptations to known coping strategies are often needed to promote follow through and they are helpful for anyone, ADHD or not.

References

  1. Procrastivity. (n.d.). In Urban Dictionary . Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=procrastivity
  2. Ramsay, J. R. (2020). Rethinking adult ADHD: Helping clients turn intentions into actions . American Psychological Association.
  3. Katzir, M. et al. (2020). Cognitive performance is enhanced if one knows when the task will end. Cognition . Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10/1016/j.cognition.2020.104189 .

J. Russell Ramsay, Ph.D., is an associate professor of clinical psychology and co-founder/co-director of the Adult ADHD Treatment & Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.

[Aug 02, 2020] On staying organized and motivated with to-do lists:

Aug 02, 2020 | blog.3dcart.com

"I am a business owner who combats procrastination in a fairly simple way: I make to-do lists and stick to them. Each day, I create a to-do list that outlines everything I hope to accomplish that day. Some of these items may be time sensitive and are organized as my top priorities. Others are less immediate, but may be assignments I would like to start on and are categorized closer towards the end of the list. I review my to-do list throughout the day and cross off everything I have accomplished. It keeps me motivated to stay on task and allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing I've already done so much!"

[Aug 02, 2020] The Dark Side of Perfectionism - Psychology Today

Jun 14, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

The Dark Side of Perfectionism Notes on an ailment and its apologies.

Cottonbro/Pexels

Pensive female artist holding paint brush Source: Cottonbro/Pexels

Job candidates are sometimes asked what their biggest flaw is. According to popular advice, one should never, in response to this question, say "perfectionism," since that is not a flaw, and implying that you are flawless won't endear you to the interviewer.

In truth, perfectionism has maladaptive versions, and it can border on pathology. It is this darker side of perfectionism that interests me here. But let us start with the adaptive variant.

In its healthy manifestations, perfectionism motivates people to strive for excellence. This motive is key to the greatest human endeavors. It is difficult to imagine anyone becoming a violin virtuoso, a world-class ballet dancer, or a notable artist without a measure of that particular intolerance for mediocrity in oneself – at least, in a given domain – that is at the core of striving for excellence.

At other times, perfectionism takes a different – and self-destructive – form. Unhealthy perfectionism leads us to spend more time brooding than actually attempting to do anything. Why?

There are, I think, two main bases of unhealthy – some would say " neurotic " – perfectionism. One is a tendency to shift the focus of attention from the task at hand to how success or failure would reflect on us. Of course, in doing anything, we are more or less aware of the fact that both success and failure would show something about us – and we are not indifferent to what that something would be – but when we are focused on a task, this thought is in the periphery of our attention, not its focal point. Not so for the perfectionist. Perfectionists are preoccupied with what success or failure would show about them.

This is a problem because you can only do a good job if you pay attention to what you are doing. If you are thinking about something else – anything really, but in this case, yourself – your mind is not where it should be given the task you are facing.

There is another path to maladaptive perfectionism. The perfectionist is fixated on the idea that the project at hand must be the best thing he or she has ever done. Writer Elizabeth Tallent captures this second pitfall well. Tallent began her career with aplomb. Her first short story collection, published by a prestigious press and well-received by critics, appeared while Tallent was still in her late 20s. She published two more short story collections over the course of the next 10 years, but after that, she published absolutely nothing for more than two decades. In her autobiographical Scratched: A Memoir of Perfectionism , Tallent offers an honest and moving account of her struggle with the perilous currents of perfectionism. As a perfectionist, she held the belief that she could outdo herself on the very next try. This wishful belief in the proximity of stardom proved intoxicating:

The very perfectionism that was shutting down writing imbued the process with a thrilled momentousness, gratifying in itself: in my Zeno's arrow's flight, I was always closing in on the most beautiful thing I'd ever written. [1]

Tallent's expression "Zeno's arrow's flight" is a reference to the Greek philosopher Zeno, who argued that an arrow can never reach its destination, because first, it must travel half the distance to the endpoint, and before that, half of the first half, and so on ad infinitum. But you cannot, Zeno reasoned, ever reach your destination if you have to go through an infinite number of stages.

Zeno was wrong about the possibility of motion, but the image captures the perfectionist's mental framework – or should we say trap – well. It is as though the perfectionist is reaching for the horizon, which always seems within our grasp but never is.

What makes success even less likely is the perfectionist's romanticized vision of it, the hope for effortlessness. In Tallent's case, that meant expecting that the beauty of well-crafted sentences will somehow come down from the sky and pour directly onto the page, complete:

Another con – perpetrated by myself on myself – this delusion of being able to write something incredibly beautiful of course means appearing in print. Effortlessly. In the very near future. Actual and highly fortunate experiences had taught me how arduous and prolonged is a manuscript's progression to published volume. But just as dreams collapse the dreary interval between the wish for a thing and its manifestation, so did perfectionism. [2]

The problem for Tallent and other perfectionists is that outdoing oneself on the very next try is statistically improbable even if you put in a good deal of effort. It is impossible without it. On any given occasion, our performance is likely to be close to our own average, though if we persevere, over time, we can shift the average so that what was once the height of achievement becomes our mean or even the least we are capable of.

People like Tallent who begin with a great success – above their own mean – may be at a particular risk here since they want to immediately improve on an achievement that was, ex ante , unlikely. If you outdid yourself on the last try, it will be difficult for you to repeat the success straight away, let alone surpass it. You can improve on it, of course, but after repeated attempts.

The perfectionist's predicament is worsened further by the fact that anything short of one's biggest accomplishment yet is seen as a failure of the current enterprise. This all but guarantees a failure in the perfectionist's own estimation...

... ... ...

But it is also important to guard against the hidden seductiveness of the perfectionist's self-destructive mindset. For this mindset does have its dreadful appeal for us. There is something soothing about this particular type of malaise. One can almost take refuge in it, telling oneself that there is no point in trying to change anything, because the very nature of the psyche's illness is an inability to do things differently. Tallent writes similarly:

Even when I opened my mouth to inform one therapist after another perfectionism was killing me, its deprivations suited me to a T: ailment as apology . So sorry I never lived up to my brilliant promise. Psychically, perfectionism is home. [5]

It is precisely this tendency to get cozy with one's own perfectionism that must be resisted.

Unhealthy perfectionism, then, begins with an intoxicating promise of a big success in the very near future. But we can only maintain a belief of this sort for so long before it becomes clear the promise was a false one. Then the intoxication gradually turns into something different: acceptance of one's identity as a perfectionist and from here, of the certainty of failure. You tell yourself that unless you are going to cause a sensation, a real stir, there is no point in attempting anything. But to cause a sensation is unlikely, so being a perfectionist, you conclude you need not act. After all, if anything you can possibly achieve is sure to be a failure by your current standards, why bother?

At this stage, perfectionism lulls us into inactivity. Ailment as apology, as Tallent puts it. It kills us, softly.

Of course, chances are that if Tallent had continued writing during those two decades, she would have surpassed her early accomplishment. Maybe not on the first try, or the second, or the third, but eventually.

Maladaptive perfectionism, then, is not simply a desire for perfection but a desire for success without any intermediate failures, without false starts. It is a yearning for a path to greatness that amounts to a constant progression whereby one's next achievement improves on all previous ones. That is simply not an option for humans.

William F. Lynch, in Images of Hope , discusses perfectionism, with which he himself struggled. Lynch talks about the perfectionist's propensity, mentioned earlier, to focus not on the task at hand but on oneself, judging oneself harshly while at the same time diverting the energy one needs in order to succeed away from work and toward unproductive self-criticism and self-flagellation. Lynch goes so far as to say that the ability not to give in to that propensity and to self-destructive perfectionism in general is the best one we've got:

The very ability to turn away from this judgment on himself is the best thing in man, transcending in quality and importance all the things he is tempted to judge. It is the victory we need in our time, to turn away from being our own executioners. [6]

I don't know whether I would go so far as to say that this ability is the best one we have, but Lynch is certainly right that without it, we turn into our own – scratched, wounded, and bleeding – executioners.

References

  1. [1] Tallent, E. (2020). Scratched: A Memoir of Perfectionism . New York, NY: Harper Collins, 13.
  2. [2] Ibid.
  3. [3] Ibid., 9.
  4. [4] Ibid., 28.
  5. [5] Ibid., 27.
  6. [6] Lynch, W. (1974). Images of Hope: Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless . Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

Iskra Fileva, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In her academic work, she specializes in moral psychology and issues at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry. The focus of her current research is on the connections and tensions between conscious and unconscious motivation, the nature of moral emotions, and the boundary between bad character and personality disorders.

[Aug 02, 2020] To fight procrastination, here are my best tips

September 6 is Fight Procrastination Day
Aug 02, 2020 | blog.3dcart.com
Make a to-do list: you want to create a to-do list at the beginning of each week and each day. This will help you visualize what you need to accomplish. ... Don't multitask: try to work on 1 thing at a time. ... Turn off distractions: turn off social media, phone notifications and any other things that make you distracted the most." Break the workload to smaller manageable chunks. Get manageable chunks of work and work on them individually. This means that if you have a large piece of a project to finish by the end of the day, break it to smaller sub-tasks and approach each one individually. Take the easier tasks first. If you are prone to procrastination, take up the easier tasks first, to get your 'engines' started. Psychologically, you'll feel less burdened because you'll already have a few tasks ticked off your to-do list. Drop perfectionism. Regardless of the nature of your work, know that you shouldn't have the polished result just when you start. Work on version one, two, three, and don't struggle to make it perfect before you've even started.

"Another productivity and anti-procrastination hack is to set deadlines for yourself in places where there might not be a hard deadline -- for instance, certain tasks that might just be geared towards your personal goals and dreams. These are still supremely important and should never be on the back-burner, especially if you are an entrepreneur trying to grow your business. It's always a good idea to set several reminders for yourself either using the reminders app on your phone or else on Google Calendar!

Track your screen time

I've identified a pattern where I check my gadgets, social media and analytics way more often. It's when I'm working on projects that are uninspiring or out of line with my core values. If I choose projects to work on that make me feel like this, then I seem to subconsciously self-sabotage. I notice and react to push notifications, and all manner of distractions seem to pop into my head. Some of my 'busiest' workdays, with the most prolonged hours, are those where I procrastinate but achieve little.

On improving focus on work by being prepared:

"One of the reasons why people procrastinate is poor work preparation. Make sure that you have all of your materials in advance including electronics, notes, reports, and even coffee and snacks. When you have everything ready, you will be able to focus just on your tasks. In return, you will be much more productive and may even finish work faster."

On the importance of daily goals:

"It is much easier to start working when you have concrete goals to meet. These goals should be as specific as possible -- almost like a bucket list. Ideally, you should estimate the necessary time for each task. Once you have everything written down, you'll be able to simply follow the list and make sure that you tick every item. Making a list ahead of time will help you prioritize things and feel less overwhelmed with work. Once you are relaxed, you won't need to procrastinate."

[Aug 02, 2020] Procrastination 101: procrastination and hoarding disorder are connected

Notable quotes:
"... Procrastination: Why You Do It, and What to Do About It Now, ..."
"... Periodic procrastination can be disappointing and frustrating, but it really depends on the consequences we suffer that determine how much of a priority we make it to address this habit to resolve it. We suffer all kinds of consequences. ..."
Aug 02, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Yes, procrastination is a choice. Some circumstances create an environment where even involuntarily making the choice to procrastinate may protect you from a result that would be even worse.

Procrastination has been given a bad rap. Traditionally, procrastination was viewed as a failure to do something -- a negative life event. But best source research by experienced mental health professionals like Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen outline in their book, Procrastination: Why You Do It, and What to Do About It Now, suggests otherwise.

In a discussion with Burka for her radio show on Voice America , Elaine talked in-depth about how procrastination actually protects you from something that, for you, is even worse and scarier than having the label "procrastinator."

Because procrastination is such a common behavior in hoarding disorder , understanding what procrastination is and how to manage it is pivotal to achieving success. Are you procrastinating and having difficulty maintaining your initial enthusiasm to declutter, or are you taking other actions that you want/need more in your life than the mental, physical, and spatial clutter that surrounds you and weighs you down? Perhaps getting started is where you get blocked.

You may be like many of our readers who feel puzzled and defeated. They say that they know what to do to clean up, get organized, or finish that task, even if they don't hoard or live with undue clutter. But they just can't make themselves do it. Many people struggle with, and sometimes feel defeated by procrastination.

When we add busy lives into the mix where multitasking is our approach to everything, this can overwhelm us and sometimes bring us to a grinding halt. We can't possibly do everything that's expected of us. If we add in the things that we really want to do for our own happiness or benefit, it's just too much. Yet, we keep bumping our head on it and keep trying. We keep blaming ourselves and undermining our self-esteem and sense of competence.

Periodic procrastination can be disappointing and frustrating, but it really depends on the consequences we suffer that determine how much of a priority we make it to address this habit to resolve it. We suffer all kinds of consequences.

... ... ...

[Aug 02, 2020] A Checklist for Personal Efficiency

Aug 02, 2020 | www.forbes.com

At the end of the day, there are two ways to excel in business: Right strategy and personal effectiveness. Strategy is often a complex matter, and personal effectiveness is simpler, but very few do it well.

Yet the potential gains when you maximize how efficiently you perform can be astronomical. There are people who are quite literally achieving 3 times what others are getting done, every single week. After 5 years of performing at high efficiency they end up leaving the others in the dust. As a high performance coach for business leaders, I am constantly working on improving their personal effectiveness.

In my experience there are seven important areas to focus on. Print this list out and keep it on your desk, then monitor yourself on it daily. I can assure you, your personal efficiency will skyrocket.

1. Plan your day in advance.

Don't just start work. Take 15 minutes to carefully go through what your tasks are, get them all down on paper. Next , decide when you will do each item throughout the day. Only then should you begin your day's work. Such planning may look like a waste of time, but it usually doubles the speed at which your To Do list gets done.

As Abraham Lincoln said, " If I had six hours to cut down a tree I'd spend the first four hours sharpening the axe."

2. Do the most important tasks first.

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Let's face it, these days there is simply not enough time to get all your To Do's done. So if you don't do your most crucial jobs first, many days you will find they never get done at all.

3. Rush unimportant tasks.

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This is a rarely mentioned technique of efficiency. You can unlock huge amounts of time by rushing jobs that don't matter much. As Warren Buffett put it, "Whats' not worth doing is not worth doing well."

4. Work in uninterrupted blocks.

Interruptions destroy efficiency. The more you can find a quiet place to work uninterrupted on your To Do's, the more you'll get done. Consider working two mornings a week at a nearby coffee shop. Or book a meeting room at your office and post a big 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door.

5. Don't do emails until 11am.

When you start work, glance at your emails for anything truly urgent. (This should take no more than ten minutes). Then forget about email until mid morning. Don't be one of those people that puts everyone else's priorities before your own.

6. Pick one key job for the day.

What's the one task that would help your business the most? Get clear on this, each and every day. If all you did was achieve your single most important task daily, in 3 months your business would be powering. But most people have never identified what their key daily task is.

7. Have a finishing time.

Everyone has a start time, but few have a time they must leave at the end of the day. You'd be amazed how much more efficient you become when you do. When you know there's a certain time you must finish work, it forces you to work quickly all through the day so you can make the deadline. But when your work day is open ended, there's no real need to work fast. Remember Parkinson's Law : "Work expands to fill the time allotted for it."

So that's your personal efficiency checklist. Keep it nearby as you work through your day.

If you can stick to this list daily you will find you will radically change how much you achieve. You'll be able to work less and earn more. Your stress will go down and your confidence will go up.

[Aug 02, 2020] 10 Scientifically Proven Tips for Beating Procrastination

Aug 02, 2020 | www.forbes.com

Here are ten tips for overcoming that daunting task you've been avoiding, based on science:​ ​

1. Pick Your Poison.

The key to beating procrastination is focus. We often give ourselves too many things to do and become overwhelmed. Start by choosing just ONE thing that you've been procrastinating and make a commitment to complete that task in the next week.

2. Start today.

Once you've narrowed it down to one task, you must take immediate action. Today. If it feels daunting or you don't think you have enough time to complete the task, do the Five Minute Miracle below.

3. Five Minute Miracle.

This is one of the best techniques for people who struggle with procrastination. The Five Minute Miracle involves asking yourself; "Hmm, what action can I take in less than five minutes TODAY that moves this forward even the tiniest bit?" Once you've identified a small action, set a timer for five minutes and spend five minutes working on the task. Research shows that once you start something, you're much more likely to finish it. This is due to a psychological phenomenon called the Zeigarnik effect , which says that unfinished tasks are more likely to get stuck in your memory. (This is also why our mind gets stuck in a loop thinking about all the things we haven't yet completed.) Remember: Small action is still action. Five minutes can make all the difference.

4. Do a Power Hour .

A Power Hour consists of putting away all distractions and working in concentrated chunks of time (to begin with I suggest no more than twenty minute intervals) followed by short periods of rest, in order to harness the optimal performance of your brain and body.

Science has discovered that our brain naturally goes through cycles with peaks and valleys. To maximize your output, it is vital that you honor these peaks and valleys by balancing concentrated, focused time with relaxation and integration.

5. Kill It With Kindness.

Research shows that the more you can forgive yourself for past procrastination, the more likely you are to overcome your current procrastination and take action. Practice self-compassion when thinking of your past experience procrastinating.

6. Have a Procrastination Power Song .

Pick a song that really gets you energized, and play it whenever you want to tackle something you've been procrastinating. The brain likes to have a trigger to create a new habit, plus you're more likely to follow through when you're feeling good in your body.

7. Get under the hood.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to understand exactly why you've been procrastinating a specific task. Are you afraid of something? Maybe you feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Fill in the sentence; "I'm avoiding this task because " or "I'm avoiding this task because I'm afraid that ." And see what shows up. Identifying your fears can help you realize the monsters in the closet aren't as bad as you think.

8. Let It Go.

Most people put way too much on their To Do list. One way to stop procrastinating something is to decide you're never going to do it. What can you take off your to do list? Try crossing something off your list simply because you realize you don't really need to do that thing...ever. Give yourself permission to let it go.

9. Make a bet.

It can be very helpful to have an accountability buddy. One fun way to take this a step further is to have a bet with your buddy. Choose a day and time within the next week that you will complete this task and then tell your friend or colleague; "I'll give you $10 / take you out to lunch / buy you coffee / watch that awful movie you've been wanting to see / etc. if I haven't completed this task by next Wednesday at 10:00am." Give your accountability buddy a date and time within the next week and tell them in order to redeem the agreed upon prize, they must check in with you at that appointed day and time. If you haven't completed your task by then you owe them whatever you bet!

10. Make it fun.

Another way to motivate yourself to complete a task is to create a reward that you will give yourself once it's been completed. What can you treat yourself to once you've finished this task? Research shows the human brain responds to reward stimulus and this can be a good way to create habits.

[Sep 03, 2012] Ten tips on how to stop being chronically late

Healthy LifeStyle (HLS) - Take Control of Your Life

Several months ago, I got slowly into the habit of becoming late. It didn't get too bad but I sometimes get 10 minutes late for a conference or 5 minutes late for a meeting. I sometimes scramble the last minute to make printouts relevant for a meeting that I arrange.

Without me being aware that this habit is creeping upon me somehow I got into this habit. Slowly I also got into the habit of getting to work in the morning about 15 to 30 minutes late. Even though I always stay late after the regular working hours, I wasn't happy with the new tardy me.

Once I realized about this bad habit I took several measures to prevent it from happening. In this article I will list the steps I took to make sure that I will get in time, every time.

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. -- Albert Einstein

Commitment

The most important aspect of changing any (bad) habit is the realization and the commitment that you want to change. This is so important that I cannot emphasize it enough. Once you made the commitment to change that habit it is really easy to take the steps to remove the factors that were leading to that (bad) habit. So the first and foremost is to have a very strong conviction and commitment to change the habit that you want to get rid of. The realization that being on time is a choice I make was an important part of this process.

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing. – Thomas Jefferson

...You should have a clear vision why or for what reasons you want to change this bad habit. For example to be in time every time is a commitment I made to myself due to the following reasons:

Being late is unprofessional, and I don't want to have such a reputation. I believe that punctuality is a quality that shows respect to others as well as to oneself. I don't want to apologize to anyone for being late. When I have enough driving time, I can be a generous driver stopping for other people or cars and not to be in a tense or hurried pace. It's how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.

– Marcia Wieder Having enough driving time will keep me relaxed while I am driving. I can listen to my favorite audio programs or songs while driving. I can plan my day while I am driving or plan for the meeting I'm going to participate. If I'm the organizer of the meeting, there'll be enough time for me to settle down and arrange the required things for the meeting.

Focus on the time at which you need to get out of the house

Do not get fixated on the time you need to reach your destination. Instead calculate your commute time. Then add at least 20 minutes to it as a buffer. Then subtract this time from your meeting time. Now focus on this new time and make sure you get out of your house at this time.

For example you had to be at a meeting at 9:00 in the morning. You estimate your commute time to be half an hour. Then add at least 20 minutes to it as a buffer which will make the total time as 50 minutes. Now make sure that, whatever happens you will get out of your house at 8:10 AM.

Control the urge to become super productive

I had the bad habit of attending to some emails before I leave home. Sometimes I may assume that I could send a reply to an email in one or two minutes, but once I type it up and re-read it, it may end up taking 5 or 10 minutes and voila! I am late again. Avoid this last minute urge to become super productive.

Avoid last minute distractions

Don't pick up the phone when you are about to leave your house. Let all non-emergency calls go to your voicemail. You can always return those calls in the evening. If there are critical tasks to be done in the morning (such as putting the garbage at the curb for your once a week pick up), filling the dog's water bowl etc. then see if those can be done the night before.

Always make sure your car is ready when you need it

Fill your gas tank the evening on your way back home from work, instead of waiting to do it in the morning. Also, during winter time if your battery is struggling to start your car and it is a few years old, then go and replace the battery at the earliest opportunity. Otherwise you can get stuck in your office when you want to drive back home.

Don't waste your time searching for essential stuff

Are you an organized person? If not, then, designate a place in your house for your essential items such as your car keys, wallet etc., and put those things in their correct spot as soon as you get back home.

Even if you are not a very organized person, once you designate such a spot and practice this for a few weeks, it will become a second nature. If you have small kids, make sure these designated spots are out of their reach.

If you need to take specific items for special occasions (such as a metro pass when you want to ride the metro or directions to a new meeting location) make sure to assemble them the night before and put them along with another essential item such as your car key. This way you will not forget to take them when you leave your house the next morning.

Make sure to go to sleep reasonably early

By nature I am a night owl. I can stay late and work as much late as I want to. This is a big problem because, I will be so tired the next morning and I will try to extract the last ounce of sleep when I try to wake up. Result, I will be late for work! So unless it is a Friday or Saturday, I will make sure that I get to bed in a reasonable time.

Let others know about your schedule

If you work with other people, then you very well know of the following issue.

You have a meeting that starts in 10 minutes. It is on the other side of the building which requires a five minutes' walk. A colleague of yours just walked in and wanted to ask you a question. Being available to your colleagues is one thing and not becoming late for the meeting is another thing. Both are important issues.

Usually, I politely tell the colleague as soon as they walk in that I need to go for a meeting in 5 minutes. So if the discussion would take more than 5 minutes, I will offer to stop by their office as soon as I get back from the meeting. This way, my colleague is aware of my schedule and they can make an informed decision to talk to me for five minutes or to wait until I get back. This will also avoid cutting your colleague off after they started the conversation.

Carry a pen, small writing pad and a book or article you want to read

Finally, if you follow these steps, I can assure you that barring any unforeseen events, you won't be late for anything anymore. You will get in early for meetings and conferences. Once you arrive a few minutes early, having your pen and writing pad will allow you to effectively use that slack time. You can plan for your day. Jot down ideas and to do lists. If you have a book or article, you can catch with your reading.

I always carry a pen and a few index cards in my pocket. This will give me enough materials to use during the slack time.

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[Aug 05, 2020] Procrastivity (a.k.a. Sneaky Avoidance) and Adult ADHD Coping (Part 1) by J. Russell Ramsay Published on Jul 16, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

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Books

Procrastination- Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now- Burka, Jane B., Yuen, Lenora M. Amazon.com- Books Popular but is not recommended (a garbage book with too much psychoanalytical nonsense; useful material can be condensed in the 25 page article)

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Procrastination - Wikiquote

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An Article on Fighting Procrastination That I'll Do Later.

Procrastination is not the problem. It is the solution. Procrastinate now, don't put it off. ~ Ellen DeGeneres

"My mother always told me I wouldn't amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, 'Just wait." ― Judy Tenuta

"I'm a big believer in putting things off, In fact, I even put off procrastinating." -Ella Varner

"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic." ― Bill Watterson

"Getting an idea should be like sitting on a pin; it should make you jump up and do something."– E. L. Simpson

"The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings."– Thomas Sowell

"Anything worth putting off is worth abandoning altogether."– Epictetus

How to Procrastinate- 11 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow



Etc

Society

Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy

Quotes

War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes

Bulletin:

Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D


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Last modified: August, 09, 2020