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Relax, procrastinators. Experts have discovered the true meaning behind you’re “I’ll do it later” mantra. Contrary to what others may believe, it’s not about laziness, it’s about your mood.
After two years of studies, psychologists have concluded that giving in to your immediate “I don’t feel like doing this right now” attitude can backfire. Here’s why: You’re most likely avoiding your true emotions about the task at hand, like stress, anxiety, discomfort or feeling inadequate. Then as time passes and the task still needs to be completed, now you need to add lateness (if it’s deadline-driven) and/or frustration to the list.
Timothy Pychyl, associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle, along with other researchers, have put together “mood repair” strategies that should encourage procrastinators to get moving. As told to the Wall Street Journal, dilly-dalliers need to "just get started, and make the threshold for getting started quite low."
He also suggests taking a glance into the very-near future and envisioning the project as done. Once you’re there, linger on the happiness you’re bound to feel knowing that the chore has been crossed off your to-do list. Now, shift gears and ponder the frame of mind you’d be in if the job was left to a later date.
As stated in the article, this remedies procrastinators' tendency to get so bogged down in present anxieties and worries that they fail to think about the future, says Fuschia Sirois, a psychology professor at Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
In some cases (like mine), I think some of us procrastinate because we work well under pressure. For instance, I tend to do my typical busy-doing-nothing acts, like roaming on Twitter, when a deadline is looming over my head. And that’s also because I’m fairly certain the happy “I did it!” feelings will come about when I hit “send” with two minutes still left on the clock.
However, these psychologists make a great point. Think about how good it feels to be rid of those pesky chores, like taking out the garbage and saying hello to an annoying person at a party. It’s like removing a band-aid — just rip it off and be done with it.