Scientists define procrastination as the voluntary delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences. It is opting for short-term pleasure or mood at the cost of the long-term outcome.
Yup, that sounds about right. It’s the “feel good now” philosophy 🙂
We can talk forever about Goal Setting Strategies and still find that something gets in the way of our goals. Sometimes that problem is goal clarity. It is very important to have a pretty clear idea of the direction you are heading and why you even want to achieve that goal. The “why” really helps in the painful times, because really, who EVER “feels like” doing anything that is hard. Not me…EVER!
There is a strong partnership between Time Management skills and Emotional Self Awareness (Emotion Regulation) which seems to be the magical combination in goal attainment.
Emotions…sigh….sometimes a super difficult task to understand those pesky little creatures! I know…oh how I know!
My awesome husband describes the process of doing something extraordinarily difficult as pulling a hat out of a rabbit. That always makes me giggle 😉 In this spirit, to get better at tackling procrastination we need to build strong Time Management and Emotion Regulation strategies. Even though working through difficult things seems so overwhelming, these are the times that define us. It is when I have persevered, when I have moved toward the goal even though I did not feel like doing anything, or thought that it was impossible, that I found out what I was made of.
“We are who we are, in the tough times”
~Me, I say this all the time
When I was younger, procrastination was a very real problem for me that had a very detrimental effect on my self-concept. I would often get most tasks done, in the end, after a complete freak out and panic; but often did not produce the best result in the end. Yes, I handed in crap, embarrassing crap, as a student, at times…ugh…
Psych-Nerd Time AGAIN!
Did You Know?
- Emotion-regulation strategies and visions of the future self are the key ingredients in tackling procrastination (Rosenthal, 2015, Stockholm University).
- People who procrastinate are “giving in to feel good,” Dr. Pychyl (Carlton University Procrastination Research Group). Check out his free podcast series!
- Chronic procrastination isn’t actually linked to perfectionism, but rather to impulsiveness, which is a tendency to act immediately on urges, according to Dr. Piers Steel, an organizational-behavior professor at the University of Calgary.
- The mental-health effects of procrastination are well-documented: Habitual procrastinators have higher rates of depression and anxiety and poorer well-being. Dr. Fuschia Sirois, a psychology professor at the University of Sheffield, in England.
- Non-procrastinators better envision and connect with their future selves. Dr. Fuschia Sirois
So, since procrastination is not linked to perfectionism, but rather impulsiveness, use anxiety as a “cue” to get started while combating Temporal Myopia (TM) at the same time!
Seriously, look up what TM is! Super nerdy, but so true, and curable.
Try This Out Today…
Specific Goal Setting: break down long-term goals into smaller, more concrete sub-goals. Instead of saying that you are going to work on a paper on Tuesday, be specific and divide it into manageable sub-goals: “I am going to work on a paper for one hour at 11 a.m”.
Create a Vison: Imagine yourself achieving your goal, how do you feel? Can you “see” yourself in this new accomplished version of yourself? If not, take some time and imagine yourself achieving this goal. If you can’t, maybe this is not the right goal for you. If you can see yourself achieving this goal, expand the vision further by asking the following questions:
- How will I feel when I complete this task?
- Does this task help me in the future? If so, how?
- How do I feel when I break the task down into smaller goals? Less anxious?
- Is this goal mine or is it someone else’s goal for me?
Are you are not following your passion?
…here is something to consider…
When I was working on my Bachelor of Science (BSc) at the University of Alberta, I found myself spending so much more time on my Psychology homework than my Chemistry, Physics and Biology. I would read my Psych stuff before going out to the pub with my friends on a Friday night….Hmmmmm….nerdy I know, but I absolutely love this psych-stuff! This may be why you are procrastinating.
My Advice Today
You: “But I don’t feel like doing it!”
Me: “Do what is right, not what is easy”.
Next week, let’s start working on
Emotion Regulation to combat procrastination.
Let’s pull a rabbit out of a hat!
I love hearing about what works for you!
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD
Counsellor * eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
More Stuff that is Cool
Wall Street Journal (August 2015): Stop Procrastinating, Start by Understanding the Emotions Involved
As I chow down on my super yummy croissant this morning, that glorious little carby breakfast goodness got me thinking…
I wish I could be this
( all powerful and saying’ )
Hey You Carbs! Stay out of my belly!
( she says with serious mean and threatening look of power…with Scottish accent )
but in reality, I am feeling all fuzzy and tired
and really, carbs taste amazing!
AND it is the breakfast of all wanna be hibernators 😉
Wouldn’t it be great
…to just give into this feeling and just avoid the world, live in PJ’s, shovel in various gourmet versions of Poutine and Mac n’ Cheese and binge watch…well…anything but work/school?!?
Well, I am not going to lie to you and say that I am not feeling this way right now…because I most certainly am! If only we lived in the days of nomadic existence where I could hibernate…ok…wait…no I don’t…I like my basic needs being met! Food, shelter, safety…good stuff to have and I am immensely grateful.
So, since I can’t hibernate, I need to find a way to keep my life on track. This natural evolutionary function is so inconvenient in modern society!!!
My advice, get moving and motivated even though you don’t feel like it.
I know, I know…I am having a tantrum too…sigh…
If I don’t get my butt moving and get stuff done, I know that my self-esteem will start to sink to low levels.
Let’s Work on Our Self-Esteem
Self-Regard is respecting oneself while understanding and accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses. Self-Regard is often associated with feelings of inner strength and self-confidence.
When we know more about ourselves, both our strengths and weaknesses, we can overcome the most difficult things. Knowledge is power!
So many people think that they are “broken” when they start feeling the effects of living in a colder climate…SAD. You are NOT broken, your body is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It’s just inconvenient timing.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is recurrent depression with typical onset in the fall/winter; it is characterized by fatigue, increased appetite and sleeping, and carbohydrate craving (Rosenthal et al., 1984; Young, 1991). Some SAD symptoms occur in most people in northern latitudes during the winter (Dam, Jakobsen, & Mellerup, 1998), suggesting that SAD may be an extreme of normal wintertime behavioural changes (Keller & Nesse, 2006).
It’s not your fault, you are not broken, but we do need to function in our daily lives. So, knowing that the season can make it harder to feel motivated, it is helpful to accept this fact and use strategies to kick your own butt and get moving despite how hard it “feels”.
YOU WILL FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF … if you get moving.
Some Things You Can Do
- Light Therapy: there are some pretty cool natural light lamps designed to trick your brain to think it is summer! Slap on that sunscreen, get some sand stuck in weird places and turn on that lamp. Talk to your family physician about lighting up your life.
- Exercise: Research has shown that exercise is one of the best ways to combat depression, an many more human struggles.
- Vitamin D: increase your intake of the “sunshine vitamin“.
- Psychotherapy: TALK! please talk to one of us nice counsellor people for personalized strategies and personal insight that will help you get through this slump time successfully.
- Medication: please consider anti-depressant medication as a last resort. You are so much more powerful than you think you are.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Video Snack of the Day
Take a moment today, learn more about the Psychology of Self- Motivation. The more your know about yourself, the more empowered you are. When you feel like you have control over your own life, you feel better about yourself.
Again, thank you so much to those who have emailed me comments!
Seriously! You have been so wonderful and encouraging 🙂
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
Counsellor * eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Dam, H., Jakobsen, K. and Mellerup, E. (1998). Prevalence of winter depression in Denmark. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 97, 1–4.
Keller, M.C. and Nesse, R. M. (2006). The evolutionary significance of depressive symptoms: different adverse situations lead to different depressive symptom patterns. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 91, No. 2, 316–330.
Rosenthal, N. E., Sack, D. A., Gillin, J. C., Lewy, A. J., Goodwin, J. C., Davenport, P. S., et al. (1984). Seasonal affective disorder: A description of the syndrome and preliminary findings with light therapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 41, 72–80.
Young, M. A. (1991). The temporal onset of individual symptoms in winter depression: Differentiating underlying mechanisms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 22, 191–197.
HAPPY ACADEMIC NEW YEAR!
It is great to have a new start half way through the year. Now, it is all about your approach to this new start that will make all of the difference in terms of your success. Today, I am presenting at Start Smart @ Mohawk College around Time Management. I thought that I would provide my presentation for those of you who could not make it.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information.
I am always happy to help and love hearing from people!
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD
Counsellor * Professor * Coach * Facilitator * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Ok, prepare yourself for some serious excitement! I know that you have been waiting for this blog since I announced it last week. Seriously, who wouldn’t be excited about the cool things that you can do with Excel?!?! 😉
This is what a grade calculator can do for you:
*You always know where you stand.
*You can make decisions regarding how much time to spend on a course, on an assignment or studying for a test based upon the weight or if you need to raise your grade.
I have created a template in Excel for you to create your own Grade Calculator. Feel free to download it: Grade Calculator
Create one Grade Calculator for each course that you have and keep them all in the same Excel file.
At the beginning of the semester enter all of the assignments, quizzes, papers, etc. into the grade calculators. Make sure that you put the date that the item is due and how much % weight it is worth to your final grade.
Play with it! You can enter the grades that you are hoping for to see what you need to reach your final goal grade. This helps you to gage how hard you need to work on an assignment and create a healthy balance amongst all of the competing demands on your time.
Please let me know if I can help get you started, motivated or focused 🙂
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD
Counsellor * Professor * Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Well, we are two weeks into 2015 and this is the time where most resolutions start to waiver and fall off the priority list. This is NORMAL! Now is a great time to re-evaluate your goals or be more strategic about how you approach these goals. This not the time to quit!
Step #1: Do I Even Need to Change?
Sometimes people set goals for reasons external to themselves. People want them to change, society portrays what perfection “should” be or you may have a lack of self-acceptance. Goals need to come from a personal need to shift unhealthy habits to healthy ones or to build on previous success.
Am I setting goals that reflect what I want?
Step #2: How to Set Achievable Personalized Goals
Goals should be realistic and personalized. Realistic does not mean easy or lacking creativity, passion or a dream, but you need to be able to achieve them. Start with a large outcome goal, break it down in to achievable phases using the philosophy that sustainable change is best achieved in small increments. Essentially, sneak up on yourself slowly starting with changes that are minimal, that you hardly notice discomfort, and build upon success. Below is a strategy for setting goals that are well thought out and achieveable.
Goals should be simplistically written and clearly define what you are going to do.
*What will the goal accomplish? How and why will it be accomplished?
Goals should be measurable so that you have tangible evidence that you have accomplished the goal. Usually, the entire goal statement is a measure for the project, but there are usually several short-term or smaller measurements built into the goal.
*How will you measure whether or not the goal has been reached (list at least two indicators)?
Goals should be achievable; they should stretch you slightly so you feel challenged, but defined well enough so that you can achieve them. You must possess the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to achieve the goal.
*Is it possible? Have others done it successfully? Do you have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, and resources to accomplish the goal? Will meeting the goal challenge you without defeating you?
Goals should measure outcomes, not activities.
*What is the reason, purpose, or benefit of accomplishing the goal? What is the result (not the activities leading up to the result) of the goal?
Goals should be linked to a timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency, or results in tension between the current reality and the vision of the goal. Without such tension, the goal is unlikely to produce a relevant outcome.
*What is the established completion date and does that completion date create a practical sense of urgency?
Always ask yourself throughout the goal timeframe…
Do I need to revise this goal?
Step #3: Build the Change into a Habit
After all the hard work you put in to making changes in your life, you want those changes to stick around awhile. Try incorporating some of the following strategies in the attempt to build sustainable healthy habits:
Start small. Willpower is like a muscle and gets worn out if you push it too hard.
Do it every day. Irregular schedules undermine success. This is another reason to start small.
Anchor it to another established routine as a trigger or reminder. If you find that your high energy/productive time in the day is afternoon, use this time to complete the new goal tasks.
Build up slowly once you are confident your first small step is in place. Whether it is exercise, study habits or another personal development goal, start small in terms of time spent on the new behaviour.
Break it down into realistic bites: If you want be able to add exercise to your life, 3 times per week, start with incorporating one visit per week to the gym and build up.
Accept slipups with self compassion. Everyone slips up. Don’t criticize yourself, but get back on the horse again as soon as possible. Expect to slip ups. It is important to just head in the direction of the goal and not use progress as the only measure of success.
Be patient and stick to a pace you can sustain. Habits are hard to form and following all these tips sets you up for success. Moving too quickly, sets you up to fail.
Part 3: New Years Resolutions: Using Your Personality Temperament to Increase Motivation
I would love to hear from you!
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
Remember…Adversity has the effect of revealing talents in people, which under easier circumstances may never have been realized.
Check Out My Presentation from Mohawk’s Start Smart Workshop Series!
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow
by evading it today” – Abraham Lincoln
Starting today, I will be blogging about Procrastination. On Mondays I will link it to fostering your Emotional Intelligence and Wednesdays will be dedicated to building skills to deal with procrastination.
Often the reasons we put off tasks can be linked to fears of failure, being unfamiliar with success, avoiding that which controls us and so on. There are many reasons people procrastinate. Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about all these different reasons to help you figure out what your procrastination triggers or precursors are and strategies to address your procrastinating. For today, I leave you with three guiding questions. These three questions can help us to move through being stuck and get on with it.
Ask Yourself a Few Hard Questions
Where are you now?
What is in the way?
Where do you need to go?
Most people tend to jump right into ‘Where do you need to go?’ versus really looking at the obstacles and dealing with them directly. This is just the start. Keep these questions in mind as I explore “What is in the way?” and learn how to get yourself moving through those barriers.
Your Success Coach,
Heather Drummond, M.Ed. (Counselling Psychology)
Success Coach * Professor * Counsellor
Mohawk College-Fennell Campus-“The Square“-C102/20