Procrastination and the Habit of Negative Delay
By Chris Joscelyne
As a mature-age student at the University of Western Sydney, I was one
of very few seniors in a young and energetic marketing class. What I found
particularly interesting was the number of occasions on which many
seemingly highly motivated students sought extensions of deadlines for the
submission of their course assignments.
During coffee breaks, I listened with interest as students shared their
reasons for not having assignments ready on time. Some students appeared
to get a thrill out of what educators call the "deadline high".
This is the deliberate delay in commencing a task until the deadline has
arrived, producing a "high adrenalin" response. Others had
excuses for delay that ranged from the mundane to the unbelievable,
however I noted that procrastination was a common issue.
When people delay tasks by putting them off until they are unavoidable,
they create avoidable problems for themselves, including stress.
Procrastination slows achievement of current goals, and reduces personal
efficiency as time pressure accumulates.
Procrastination can be the result of:
- Analysis Paralysis
The task planning process is drawn out to avoid confronting an issue.
Plans for a task are argued, finessed, analysed and perfected, while
commencement of the actual task is delayed unnecessarily.
A task is not completed because it is being fine tuned long after it
has been achieved to an acceptable level. This can delay tackling the
next task, creating a backlog of work.
A task is given to a person who does not like it, or dislikes the
person who has allocated the task. Commencement is delayed due to
A boring task is delayed because it is perceived as being unexciting
and therefore of little importance. In reality, many
"boring" tasks are important and of value.
To overcome procrastination, avoid negative thoughts about the task or
the person who has allocated it to you. Note the deadline by which the
task should be achieved, and then stick to it. Use your diary, a planner
or work sheet, and set mini-goals within the task to keep track of your
progress. With realistic planning and self-discipline the task should be
completed on time, with greater satisfaction and with less stress.
About the author: Chris Joscelyne trained as a
clinical hypnotherapist under the tutorage of Margaret Tomko. He was
taught grief counselling by Mal McKissock, and he learned meditation in a course sponsored by the Department of Health. He developed his personal awareness
knowledge with mentors Barbara and Terry Tebo of Lifespring. For ten years
Chris was a visiting lecturer at the Australian Film, Television and Radio
School where he taught personal development, meditation and stress
management skills. Now he shares his knowledge with a wider community as a
speaker, trainer and coach, teaching people how to "Life by choice -
not by chance".