Joseph Ferrari is a professor of psychology in DePaul University’s College of Science and Health. A procrastination researcher, Ferrari is the author of the 2010 book “Still Procrastinating: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community and on the editorial board for the Journal of Addiction Research. A charter fellow in the Midwestern Psychological Association and the Eastern Psychological Association, Ferrari holds a Bachelor of Arts from St. Francis College, a Master of Science from SUNY Cortland, a Master of Arts from Adelphi University and a doctorate from Adelphi.
Do you clean your house instead of working on a big project? Do you put off sorting through your closet because it seems daunting? You might be a procrastinator.
People throw around the term procrastination frequently, but it’s very real and has very real consequences.
Procrastination is a tendency to delay the start or completion of a desired task to the point of experiencing discomfort. It leads to dysfunctional ways of being and a reduced quality of life. Procrastination is not the same as waiting, postponing or delaying.
In my research on procrastination, I have found that everybody procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator.
Because while everyone may delay a task, there are as many as 20 percent of normal adult men and women from around the world who make procrastination their maladaptive lifestyle – postponing at home, at work, at school, in relationships, this is their way of life. Twenty percent is higher than the rates of many other diseases and conditions, yet we treat the illness of procrastination as a funny topic, as just laziness, as just poor time management.
To battle against procrastination, focus on the future. Don’t regret what you didn’t accomplish. Do you want to be proud of yourself, or do you want to live in regret? Spend time with doers who get things done. Talk to them, ask them for their advice, model their behavior.
And, realize that you are not alone. You learned this tendency, you can unlearn it. Procrastination is not adaptive; you are actually missing much of life. So leave a legacy. Don’t procrastinate, just do it now.