Emotional Regulation – Avoid Procrastination!

Recent research has found that procrastinators carry feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety linked to their decision to delay a healthy lifestyle

In one study, researchers gave 45 students a pager and tracked them for five days leading up to a school deadline. Eight times a day, when beeped, the test participants had to report their level of procrastination as well as their emotional state.

As the preparatory tasks became more difficult and stressful, the students put them off more and more for more pleasant activities, yet they also reported high levels of guilt—a sign that beneath the veneer of relief there was a lingering dread about the work set aside (Pychyl et al., 2000).

Lead study author Timothy A. Pychyl concluded, “Emotional regulation, to me, is the real story around procrastination, because to the extent that I can deal with my emotions, I can stay on task” (Pychyl, 2000).

The one thing we learn from this is that the longer we put off something the harder it is for us to get it done. We feel worse and worse and go into the dreaded doom loop, the downward spiral where the actual act of procrastination weakens our executive function defenses making future action more difficult. So, eat the front and get it done, get out the door, take your first steps even if it’s just for a few moments.

Mark Twain famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. Your frog is your worst task, and you should do it first thing in the morning.

If there are two frogs then eat the uglier one first!

Tell me, what do you do to help with your procrastination?