Everyone procrastinates some time. Some more than others. Stephanie Vozza wrote a review of a book by psychologist Joseph Ferrari about the common myths we believe about procrastination. Maybe this should be the list of reasons you do not procrastinate.
>It’s easy to put things off, from starting a big project at work to making a dental appointment. Everybody procrastinates, says Joseph Ferrari, PhD, professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, but not everybody is a procrastinator.
“Twenty to 25% of adults are chronic procrastinators; it affects their home, school, relationships, and job—wherever they have to do something,” says Ferrari, author of Still Procrastinating: The No-Regrets Guide to Getting It Done. “That’s higher than the rate for depression, substance abuse, phobias, and other psychological abnormalities. People think it’s humorous, but it can be a serious problem.”
EVERYBODY PROCRASTINATES, BUT NOT EVERYBODY IS A PROCRASTINATOR.
Perpetuating the lackadaisical attitude toward procrastination are the myths that surround it. Ferrari shares eight misconceptions about putting things off, and offers some tips on how to reframe our thinking.
MYTH #1: PROCRASTINATION IS A TIME-MANAGEMENT PROBLEM.
It’s a misnomer to say procrastination is a time-management issue, says Ferrari. “We cannot manage time; time is and cannot be controlled,” he says. “We can only manage ourselves and how well we fit into time.”
Ferrari says people procrastinate because they don’t value the time of others. “As a culture, we don’t give the early bird the worm; we cut the worm up and make sure everybody gets a piece that is the same because we’re more concerned with being fair,” he says. “We don’t offer rewards for doing things early; instead, we punish for doing things late.”
MYTH #2: PROCRASTINATION IS A SELF-ESTEEM PROBLEM.
Instead of worrying that they aren’t up to the task, procrastinators put things off due to issues with social-esteem, says Ferrari.
“Procrastinators say, ‘If I never finish a task, you can’t judge me as being incompetent,’” he says. “They would rather have the negative public image that they lack effort than ability. Lacking effort implies that they might have the ability, and that’s not as damaging as lacking skill.”
MYTH #3: PROCRASTINATING IS DELAYING A DECISION.
Good leaders often wait and gather more information before choosing a course of action. Procrastinators, on the other hand, avoid making the decision at all, absolving themselves of the responsibility for the outcome.
“It’s an inability to make up your mind,” says Ferrari. “You work on A so you don’t have to think about B. It’s active avoidance, and you don’t feel good about it.”
MYTH #4: PROCRASTINATION IS A BIGGER PROBLEM IN THE U.S.
Not true, says Ferrari, who has been studying procrastination for 30 years. “This is not a U.S. phenomenon,” he says. “It’s common in Canada, England, Peru, Austria, Poland, Italy, Japan—just about any country you can imagine.”
This month, Ferrari is attending the 9th Biennial Conference on Procrastination, in Germany, where one of the topics to be explored is the role of culture in procrastination.
MYTH #5: OUR LIVES ARE BUSIER THAN EVER.
This is an insult to our ancestors, says Ferrari: “Do you think they didn’t have a busy life on the farm, with fields to plow, roofs to fix, goods to can, homes to clean?” he asks. “There are 168 hours in a week and it’s been 168 hours for centuries. We have no more or no less to do in that amount of time than any person at any other point in history.”<<
Learn the myths about why you procrastinate so you can focus on the real reasons and overcome it.
Learn how to avoid procrastination and manage your time to achieve more of what you want to do in my book, Effective Time Management.Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.