Effective Procrastination: Methods and Future Study

Abstract

            Procrastination is the act of engaging in another activity. Through a case study of one female individual, five effective procrastination methods and examples will be discussed. Recommendations for future study include replicating results in a controlled environment, and study into alternative procrastination methods.

Introduction

            Procrastination, a “self-imposed frustration” (Andreou, 2007, p. 183), is described by Solomon and Rothblum (1984) as “the tendency to delay initiation or completion of important tasks to the point of discomfort” (Howell & Watson, 2007, p. 167), and is a difficult behavior trait for individuals to overcome. The lure of engaging in another activity is both satisfying and depraved, and leads afflicted individuals into a “preference loop,” as described by Andreou (2007). Howell and Watson (2007) found that procrastination is associated with “greater disorganization and less use of cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies” (p. 167).

Despite any comprehensive literature review to the contrary, through the review of a case study of one female individual, procrastination is posited as a key element to the successful completion of any graduate school program, and that by utilizing effective procrastination methods the individual’s time will be at most a destructive trait, but more likely an exercise in instant gratification.

The case study will first outline five effective methods implemented by one female individual for purposes of employing procrastination. A description and analysis of each method along with exemplary examples will be followed by recommendations for future study.

Effective Procrastination Methods

            There are an infinite number of procrastination methods in the scientific world. For purposes of this analysis, a case study examines five methods with associated examples.

The first procrastination method is social media. In a survey described by White (2012), “64[percent] say they visit websites unrelated to work daily,” including “66[percent] for workers with bachelor’s.” In this case study, a female individual’s online habits mirrored survey results with a disproportionate amount of discretionary time procured on Facebook and Twitter, two social media websites as described by Woman (2012).

The second procrastination method is conducting imaginary conversations. The female individual in the case study, as described by Woman (personal communication, April 19, 2013), often spends time pretending to discuss books in pre-future conversations, including discussions on which books the individual wants to read, the premise of Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and other neuroscience and other interests.  The female individual, according to Woman (personal communication, April 19, 2013) cited confirmation that the conversations were imaginary due to their unusual coherence and interest level.

Another procrastination method is taking a nap, or as described by Woman (personal communication, April 19, 2013), a euphemism for retreating to a personal space and watching television. Within the case study, the favored distraction mode was watching Hallmark movies followed by an avid online search of starring actors and their respective career and dating history. Such notable movies include I Married Who? and I Want to Marry Ryan Banks which both starred well-known actors from the 1980s.

A fourth procrastination method is actually taking a nap. Ideal napping conditions discerned in the case study include a cool afternoon and a full meal.

A fifth procrastination method relies on contemplating future blog posts. The female individual in the case study, invested time in thinking of new stories and material to write, rather than write for required course assignments. One such idea, according to Woman (personal communication, May 3, 2013) was to write a research paper on effective procrastination methods (Woman, 2013).

Recommendations

            It is clear from the case study that the five effective procrastination methods described herein may be mastered. Based on a preliminary statistical analysis (Woman, personal communication, May 3, 2013), it appears that the intensity of procrastination is positively correlated with level of stress, and negatively correlated with contentment level. Future studies would benefit from replicating these results in a controlled environment.

Future studies may also focus on testing other procrastination methods for efficacy, including engaging in tasks such as mechanically laundering clothing and restoring room conditions, and performing repetitive physical movements that raise heart rate and produce pore moisture. Other studies may explore ways to not procrastinate.

References

Andreou, C. (2007). Understanding procrastination. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 37:2, 183-193.

Howell, A. J., & Watson, D. C. (2007). Procrastination: associations with achievement goal orientation and learning strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 167-178.

Solomon, L. J., & Rothblum, E. D. (1984). Academic procrastination: frequency and cognitive-behavioural correlates. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 31, 504-510.

White, M. C. (2012). You’re wasting time at work right now, aren’t you? Time, as retrieved on May 3, 2013, from http://business.time.com/2012/03/13/youre-wasting-time-at-work-right-now-arent-you/.

Woman (2012). Let’s talk… why not? Tastes Like Onion [blog], as retrieved on May 3, 2013, from https://tasteslikeonion.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/lets-talk-why-not/.

Woman (2013). Effective procrastination methods. Manuscript submitted for publication to Tastes Like Onion [blog].

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78 thoughts on “Effective Procrastination: Methods and Future Study

  1. allthoughtswork says:

    This article has been shown to effectively allow an individual to procrastinate taking a shower for at least ten minutes. Writing a comment following the article, one minute. Editing and thinking about changing comment, another minute. Wondering if another Freshly Pressed article has popped up in the time it has taken to write this that the individual can comment on, thirty seconds. Guilt flash, two seconds. Total procrastination: 12 minutes, 32 seconds.

    • Woman says:

      Your time measurement skills are excellent! I might’ve thought to check the time, but probably would’ve scrapped it partway through… Thanks for checking in!

    • Woman says:

      Woohoo, thank you so much! I suppose I should’ve put a warning label on it, but that only seems to encourage misbehaving… Don’t forget to enjoy a snack while non-posting!

  2. MauroPatigno says:

    I think that there’s a good way to procrastinate, and it’s taking it as a way to incubate new ideas. When I’m stucked with a task, I simply leave it and give a break to my brain; curiously, that’s when the answer comes in!
    Thanks for the post!

    • Woman says:

      Ah, such wise words! I think that’s a great idea, and it’s awesome when it works… But for me, I know I sometimes overextend my brain leave and it’s never pretty. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting!

  3. innovativeinteriordesign says:

    Great post ! I do think creative need to procrastinate slightly more > they need to empty their mind and great ideas often come from that. I always say everyone should set 30 minutes or so aside each day for some me/ procrastination time!

  4. Theasaurus says:

    I half expected your references to be fictional. If I’d written a post like this I would have made them up – it’s always fun to create fake academic sources and then cite them. (Plus, this would add another level to the procrastination process.) I was quite surprised to click on a link and find that it actually worked!

    Your procrastination efforts go far beyond the simple act of writing a blog post. Nicely done.

    • Woman says:

      Thank you! If anything I am thorough in my endeavors… even my procrastination ones! I was going to make some awful MC Hammer reference to “Too Legit” but I’ll refrain 🙂

  5. kokkieh says:

    My favourite procrastination method is reading a novel. It stimulates creativity and improves language skill. How can anyone say it’s not constructive.
    Great pos.

    • Woman says:

      Thank you, I see I may have to consult you on any further studies… Good novel recommendations for procrastination would be much appreciated!

      • kokkieh says:

        Pretty much anything you’re unable to put down. For me, lately it’s been GRR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, though any Terry Pratchett will do in an emergency 😀

  6. afireworkinprogress says:

    I am, by nature, a procrastinator. However, I’ve learned that I was in a constant state of anxiety over all I needed to accomplish. Now I focus on the enjoyment I get from checking things off my list. I do better under pressure sometimes, but I prefer a clear head and an eased mind.

    • Woman says:

      It sounds like you’re managing it well, and it’s helping you rather than hurting you! I love checking things off lists too – my problem is I add to my list things I’ve already done, just for that feeling of satisfaction. :\ Thanks for checking out the post!

  7. Candz says:

    I fully appreciate this blog merely on the premise that I have to do a study on the correlation of Psychological Capital on Procrastination in Undergraduate students for my Honours course and this blog fully encapsulates the irony involved in reading about Procrastinating, while Procrastinating doing a study on Procrastination.

  8. chaitanya says:

    Hilarious! I think I’m sold on this very interesting life skill. I’ll get started on it… tomorrow.

  9. littlebearpooky says:

    Reblogged this on I am a strange loop and commented:
    oh my goodness, i used all the methods discussed there, studies also show that students older than 21 are less likely to procrastinate, suddenly this gives me hope that i will not waste time reading random posts here while there are so much more to be done. But if i don’t procrastinate, probably i would not find this site and i would not decide to have a blog.

  10. S.C. says:

    I know about procrastination from a long history of experience in the field. Send me a message if you want some of my expertise (but I probably won’t get back to you for a week or so.)

  11. joanneemily says:

    This is brilliant. Always makes me feel less guilty when I procrastinate by reading about other people’s procrastination. So then I carry on doing it until I feel guilty again. And thus the cycle continues…

  12. oleaceae91 says:

    Haha my reading this was due to procrastination as I am currently trying to finish an essay which is due in tomorrow. I suppose I could have finished it early however, I have spent the week procrastinating =D

    • Woman says:

      Oh dear, good luck with your essay!… Too bad procrastination is more fun than the thing you’re avoiding doing… 🙂 Happy writing!

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