The Psychology of Procrastination
Procrastination is actually a form of ambivalence, like the other two we frequently encounter, guilt and forgiveness. Its the light version of ambivalence, but the experience keeps conflict and its resolution partially out of awareness. This ebook is written by a Clinical Psychologist. More
The symptoms vary but usually include waiting until the last minute, setting appointments too late, filing taxes at midnight on April 15th, driving the car into the ground before changing the oil and getting used to the mess in the house because cleaning can wait until tomorrow. Are there dishes still in the sink from three days ago? How about that laundry?
These are all the warning signs of procrastination. Some are more dramatic and harmful, like not completing the project on time at work or turning in term papers for that cranky professor.. Others are chronic and annoying. If you have any of these signs, this ebook is for you.
In this ebook, I start out with a discussion of misconceptions about procrastinators. For example, procrastinators are really not lazy, per the stereotype. But they do have great difficulty seeking help (besides getting around to making that appointment...).
Next, I delve into what the underlying dynamics are. It turns out that procrastination is really a deficiency in resolving ambivalence, as are two other common conditions (guilt and failure to forgive). So, I examine ambivalence in depth, especially in regards to values, feelings, thoughts as they play out in our either conscious or unconscious experience. Ambivalence and its manifestations are about the conflict between these elements. The indecision and anxiety that sits atop the ambivalence is central to procrastination playing out in behavior. Understand this and you will trick yourself less and do more, more often.
This leads to a discussion of suppression and repression, in relation to time. There are lots of small examples sprinkled in the text. These are included so the reader can plug in and relate, and at the same time, determine what is normal behavior and what is not. This will help in case you are considering seeing a professional.
Many folks like a little background, so next I delve into what the researchers have found about procrastination. Its not what you think. It has to do with how we think about thinking. Here you will find terms such as hyperbolic reasoning, metacognition, present bias and time inconsistency. These are in contrast to what most people think of procrastinators--that they are immature, impulsive and passive-aggressive. (Some are, some aren't). There are some ingenious experiments that have been done that I cover. Find out about the "Stupid Monkey Brain."
Next I look at the clinical side, and how to fix procrastination. What questions to ask, and at what depth. There follows a discussion of the techniques to externalize the findings in ways that undermine procrastination.
Last, I provide two in-depth examples and go through the process of figuring out what might be going on.. Last after last, there is a reader submitted example, that is sort of a final test. (No grades are given).