Aug. 19, 2011: Procrastination

Previously we have looking at how troublesome patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior can be changed.  Today we begin to survey specific habits, starting with procrastination.

The key to understanding procrastination is understanding the relationship between the level of stress and the level of performance.  When it comes to stress, performance rides along an inverted-U shaped curve, where the best performance happens on the top of the curve.

Too low stress produces errors of omission (carelessness); too high stress brings errors of commission (impulsive mistakes).  Surprisingly, procrastination often happens because people think they should act TOO quickly, missing the middle sweet-spot where stress is optimal for performance.  Such moderate stress also engenders motivation, that is, if we notice it.

A procrastinator avoids doing the work when the stress is too low. That is actually a good start.  Unfortunately, yelling at oneself about procrastination distracts ones attention away from discovering the right point to do the work.

Wait for it, notice it, catch the wave, and ride it.

A second cause for procrastination is the natural ambivalence people have toward the obligation to work.   It can seem that the point of work is to stop working, so the sooner the better.

We think work is the enemy, but committed effort is actually the essence of feeling alive.  As I wrote in yesterday’s Facebook posting:

Many people work toward the end of work – bad idea. To retire is to expire. Instead, work to find something to love in everything that you do – not all of it, but some of all of it. Of course, as you put love into your work, also work at the love in your life.

Please forward this post (“share button” below) to someone you think it might interest.

You can access my more frequent Twitter posts through the button above.  In addition, after hitting the Facebook button above, if you “Like” my page, you will get those “Wall” posts right on your Facebook news-feed.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at 11:15 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Aug. 19, 2011: Procrastination”

  1. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, SCAC, MCC Says:

    Got here through LI (“for shrinks,” I believe) – perfectionism post. Content is wonderful and on target with my work with ADDers etc., but this post is to let you know I’m WILD about your site’s design – Quiet, focusing, easy to navigate, brilliant graphic/logo — WELL done! ( “Blum Blog” made me chuckle.) I will definitely spend more time here, and I’m sure I’ll find more than a couple of “related posts” that will add value for my readers.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, SCAC, MCC – (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)

  2. Dr. Rick Blum Says:

    Thanks Madelyn — I also have a special report on adult ADD in another section of the website. Here’s the link:

Leave a Reply