Forgiveness - a cure for procrastination

Sep 09 2010 by Brian Amble Print This Article

We all know that procrastination is bad for your productivity and even your health, yet we are all guilty to a lesser or greater extent of putting things off until tomorrow (or the day after that, or whenever). But since procrastination seems to be part of human nature, what can we do to minimise its effects?

The secret to recovering from a bout of procrastination, according to a 2010 study covered here on the British Psychological Society, is to forgive yourself.

Dr. Michael Wohl of Carleton University in Canada and colleagues followed 134 first year undergrads through their first two sessions of mid-term exams. Those who had forgiven themselves for procrastination prior to the initial mid-terms were less likely to procrastinate prior to the second lot of exams and tended to do better as a result.

So forgive yourself for procrastinating, move on, get over it and you'll be more likely to get going without delay next time around.

"Forgiveness allows the individual to move past maladaptive behaviour and focus on the upcoming examination without the burden of past acts to hinder studying," the researchers said.

"By realising that procrastination was a transgression against the self and letting go of negative affect associated with the transgression via self-forgiveness, the student is able to constructively approach studying for the next exam."