In a study at Ohio State University, students who procrastinated earned an average of 2.9 on a 4.0 scale. Even though they justified that they worked better under pressure, their grades told another story, they didn’t work well under pressure. Further, they have no idea how good they may have been if they hadn’t procrastinated.
I must admit, I was a big procrastinator when it came to exercise. First, the doctor said it was okay to exercise again (after surgery) so I said, “okay, after the holidays.” Then I discovered I would travel to New York City on January 7th so I said, “okay, after the travel.” Then I returned from the trip and there were no more excuses. So I said, “okay, it’s too cold.”
Why did I procrastinate doing something when I knew it was good for me? I knew that that a little exercise every day was needed for healthy change so I couldn’t wait for Buffalo spring and the warmer temperatures. But still I wanted to come home after work and cuddle up rather than go to the gym and get on the equipment to stretch and tighten.
According to Defenders of the Heart, a book we’ll review soon, the reason we procrastinate is perfectionism. Procrastination comes to the defense of perfectionism to ensure we do not embarrass ourselves. When caught in perfectionism, we are never satisfied with our efforts, so procrastination says, “don’t start then there will be no disappointment.”
To stop this cycle, set specific parameters to break the cycle. Consider using a timer set at just 10 minutes. Everyone can do something they’ve been procrastinating about for 10 minutes. The key is, after the timer goes off, stop what you are doing. Repeat this again the next day and then the next. Before you know it, you will have broken through the mental block, and be on your way. “Taking small bites out of big things will eventually lead to success.”
Cite: Kagan, M. and Einbund, N. Defenders of the Heart. (2008). Carlsbad, Ca. Hay House, Inc.