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Procrastination Research Group, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON. Department of Psychology email link to Tim_Pychyl@carleton.calink to Carleton University Home PageDepartment of Psychology
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cartoon character

 

This web site provides access to information and research related to procrastination. Although our site originates at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), it represents a compilation of information and research on procrastination from all over the world.

Are you visiting our website for the first time? Here are some suggestions:
  1. BLOG - If you want to understand your own procrastination, visit my Don't Delay blog on Psychology Today - a very good source of concise summaries of the latest research along with helpful tips and strategies for change.
  2. PODCASTS - Ranked in the top 15 on iTunes for Self-Help. Updated regularly at iProcrastinate Podcasts 
  3. RESEARCH - If you want to know about research in the area, you'll find lots of information on this site including a bibliography (see "Research Resources" in the menu above). More recent research is highlighted below the cartoon. You may choose to participate in research as well.
  4. COMICS - If you want to smile, check out the Carpe Diem comics Some of the most recent are below, and the archive can be found at the link to the right. The latest comic is here.
  5. Fun YouTube video created by some of my first-year students (2010-2011).
  6. PDF copy of my presentation slides for recent talks in Ottawa.
  7. ABOUT DR. PYCHYL - You can learn more about my work here.
  8. BOOK - The Procrastinator's Digest: A Concise Guide to Solving the Procrastination Puzzle has been republished by Tarcher/Penguin as Solving the Procrastination Puzzle Order a copy today. Recent reader comment  What are readers saying?
Why you procrastinate and 10 tactics to help you stop
(A Year of Productivity Interview)

20 Tips to Reduce Academic Procrastination
(these are the tips discussed in the podcast posted January 2013)

Participate in a Research Project out of the UK

(This is a thesis project sponsored by Prof. Marcantonio Spada)


Recent Research & Publications

Flett, A. & Pychyl, T.A. (June, 2014). Procrastination, Rumination, and Distress in Students: An Analysis of the Roles of Self-Compassion and Mindfulness. Poster presented at the Canadian Psychological Association Annual Conference, Vancouver. B.C.

Sirois, F. & Pychyl, T.A. (2013). Procrastination and the priority of short-term mood regulation: Consequences for future self. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7, 115-127. DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12011

Abstract
Procrastination is a common and pervasive problem associated with a range of negative outcomes across a variety of life domains that often occurs when people are faced with tasks that are seen as aversive. In this paper, we argue that as a form of self-regulation failure, procrastination has a great deal to do with short-term mood repair and emotion regulation. Moreover, we contend that a temporal understanding of self and the mood-regulating processes involved in goal pursuit is particularly important in understanding procrastination, because the consequences of procrastination are typically borne by the future self. After summarizing the research on the priority of short-term mood regulation in procrastination, we then draw the connection between the focus on short-term mood repair and the temporal disjunction between present and future selves. We present research that exemplifies these intra-personal processes in understanding temporal notions of self characterized by procrastination, and then link these processes to the negative consequences of procrastination for health and well-being. We conclude with a discussion of possible avenues for future research to provide further insights into how temporal views of the self are linked to the dynamics of mood regulation over time in the context of procrastination.

Haghbin, M., & Pychyl, T.A. (July 19, 2013). Development and Psychometric Properties of the Health‐related Procrastination Scale. Paper presented at the 8th Biennial Procrastination Research Conference. Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Khazraei, N., & Pychyl T.A. (July 19, 2013). The central role of self-regulation failure in the relation between depression and procrastination. Paper presented at the 8th Biennial Procrastination Research Conference. Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Rooen, A., & Pychyl, T.A. (July 19, 2013). How maladaptive thinking is related to procrastination. Poster presented at the 8th Biennial Procrastination Research Conference. Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Brewer, R., & Pychyl, T.A. (July 19, 2013). The relations of purpose, transcendence and existential vacuum with procrastination. Poster presented at the 8th Biennial Procrastination Research Conference. Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Haghbin, M., & Pychyl, T.A. (July 19 2013). Procrastination and health: The negative effects of various types of procrastination. Poster presented at the 8th Biennial Procrastination Research Conference. Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Maisonneuve, A., & Pychyl, T.A. (July 20, 2013). An examination of academic procrastination from first-year undergraduate to graduate study. Poster presented at the 8th Biennial Procrastination Research Conference. Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Pychyl, T.A., Rooen, A., & Haghbin, M. (September 19-21, 2013). The relation of maladaptive automatic thoughts to procrastination,  socially-prescribed perfectionism and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Annual Conference for the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, Denver, Colorado.

Rahimi, S., Hall, N. C., Pychyl, T., A., & Sverdlik, A. (June 2013). Blameworthiness and Moral Responsibility in Students that Procrastinate versus Delay. Poster presented at the Canadian Psychological Association, Quebec City, QC.

Rahimi, S., Hall, N. C., & Pychyl, T.A. (April, 2013). Attributions of Moral Responsibility and Blameworthiness in Relation to Procrastination versus Delay. Poster presented at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

Pychyl, T.A., & Flett, G.L. (2012). Procrastination and self-regulatory failure: An introduction to the special issue. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. DOI: 10.1007/s10942-012-0149-5

Abstract
In preface to the papers in this special issue on the role of procrastination in maladjustment, we provide an overview of the topics covered.  To our knowledge, this is the first special issue that focuses specifically on the role of this form of self-regulatory failure in understanding maladjustment. We begin with a discussion of the complex array of motivational, affective, cognitive, and behavioural factors that operate in chronic procrastination.  These complexities are illustrated with case studies that highlight the role of negative self-views and associated deficits in self-regulation.  Themes explored in the papers include the role of cognitive factors in dysfunctional beliefs and automatic thoughts in procrastination, as well as the role of procrastination and deficits in self-regulation related to stress, psychological distress, and physical illness.  Another key theme addressed is the usefulness of REBT and cognitive techniques such as mindfulness training in reducing the tendency to procrastinate.  

For a brief introduction to the effects of perfectionism, see these tips by Gord Flett (Canada Research Chair, York University).

Haghbin, M., McCaffrey, A., & Pychyl, T.A. (2012). The complexity of the relation between fear of failure and procrastination. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy.
DOI: 10.1007/s10942-012-0153-9

Abstract
This study investigated the indirect and conditional relation between fear of failure and procrastination based on constructs from self-determination theory. Using structural equation modeling to analyze data from 300 university students, we found that the relation between fear of failure and procrastination was moderated by perceived competence. The relation was positively significant for students with low levels of competence and negatively significant for those with high level of competence. However, in the latter group, fear of failure negatively affected satisfaction of the need for autonomy, which in turn increased the likelihood of problematic delay on academic and everyday-life tasks. The results are discussed in relation to the complex interplay of motivational variables related to self-regulatory failure.

Sirois, F. & Pychyl, T.A. (September 7, 2012). Procrastination and perceptions of time: Implications for theory and practice. Symposium organized for the 1st International Conference on Time Perspecitve, Coimbra, Portugal. 

Abstract
As a temporally extended activity, procrastination is a troubling and prevalent problem that involves failure to act on previously made intentions. This symposium brings together different perspectives on how time perspective can enhance our understanding of the causes and consequences of procrastination that may provide clues as to how to manage this form of temporal self-regulation failure. Across four papers we examine the ways in which different perceptions of time are linked to procrastination across different settings. The first paper examines how future time perspective may explain the depressive symptoms associated with procrastination using structural equation modelling to assess its potential mediating role. The second paper addresses the issue of why procrastinators are less concerned about the future consequences of their behaviour by examining the links between procrastination and a particular type of future time perspective, the consideration of future consequences, in a meta-analysis, and assesses the potential explanatory role of perceived behavioural control. The different pacing styles that people use to allocate their temporal resources when faced with a deadline are reviewed in the third paper, which suggests that procrastination is just one of several ways that people may deal with deadlines. In the final paper, shifting the procrastinator’s perspective from a limitless future to a more restricted present is evaluated in a short cognitive-behavioral group intervention to deal with severe procrastination in an academic setting. Timothy Pychyl (discussant) discusses the implications of the studies in the context of theory and research on procrastination and time perspective.

Below are the papers presented as part of the symposium

Procrastination, depression, and Future Time Perspective
Fred Rist, Angelika Glöckner-Rist, Anna Höcker & Margarita Engberding
Institute of Clinical Psychology (Muenster) & GESIS (Mannheim)

Procrastination and the consideration of future consequences: Exploring the role of self- control
Fuschia Sirois, Bishops University, Quebec

A review of the Pacing Style Instrument
Wendelien van Eerde & Josette Gevers
Human Performance Management Group, Eindhoven University of Technology

Focused clinical treatment of procrastination by means of working time-restriction
Margarita Engberding, Anna Höcker, Ruth Haferkamp, Karoline Krumm, & Fred Rist
Institute of Clinical Psychology (Muenster) & GESIS (Mannheim)

New Years Resolutions

Ferrari, J.R., & Pychyl, T.A. (2012). “If I wait, my partner will do it:” The role of conscientiousness as a mediator in the relation of academic procrastination and perceived social loafing. North American Journal of Psychology, 14 (1), 13-24.

Abstract
The relations of academic procrastination with perceived social loafing and conscientiousness among undergraduate study-group partners were examined. Using 70 dyads (140 students: 87 women, 53 men), we found that when conscientiousness scores were controlled statistically from self-report data, partial correlates indicated that academic procrastination was not significantly related to perceived social loafing. Results suggested that conscientiousness may be an underlying source trait for both procrastination and social loafing. This is of interest in terms of personality theory as well as the psychological processes that these measures may reflect, particularly how duty and self-discipline may affect the intention-action gap that undermines everyday voluntary action.

Pychyl, T.A. (July, 2011). Agency, responsibility and autonomy: An existential perspective on procrastination as self-regulation failure. Paper to be presented at the 7th Biennial conference on Counseling the Procrastinator in the Academic Context, Amersterdam. 

Carpe Diem cartoon about to-do lists

Heward, E., & Pychyl, T.A. (June 4, 2011). Trait emotional intelligence and its relations to general, academic, and Internet procrastination: The Importance of Self-Control in Understanding Self-Regulatory Failure. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Toronto.

Abstract
Procrastination is noted primarily as a failure to regulate behaviour. Chronic procrastinators show difficulty in exerting self-control and give into impulsive behaviours instead of initiating or maintaining work on assigned tasks. Self-control can also be undermined by the prioritization of repairing negative moods over long-term goal pursuit. As such, emotional competencies, such as emotional intelligence (EI) would potentially prove beneficial in understanding and preventing the short-term prioritization of mood repair. The purpose of this study was to examine the relations between the components of a measure Trait EI and measures of procrastination. A sample of 125 undergraduate students (104 females) completed a series of questionnaires online to measure EI as well as general, academic and Internet procrastination. Regression analysis showed that only the self-control component of EI was a significant predictor of a combined measure of procrastination, however there were significant negative relations between the EI components of well-being, emotionality, and sociability with academic and Internet procrastination. The results are discussed in relation to understanding the central role of self-control in reducing procrastination and how effective emotion regulation is necessary to prevent the prioritization of mood repair over long-term goal pursuit.

The comic below captures these results (see more at Carpe Diem)

Carpe Diem cartoon about Emotional Intelligence

Wohl, M.J.A., Pychyl, T.A., & Bennet, S.H. (2010). I forgive myself, now I can study: How self-forgiveness for procrastinating can reduce future procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 803-808(Even O-Magazine liked this one)

Abstract
In the present study, we examined the association between forgiving the self for a specific instance of
procrastination and procrastination on that same task in the future. A sample of 119 first-year University 
students (49 male, 70 female) completed measures of procrastination and self-forgiveness immediately 
before each of two midterm examinations in their introductory psychology course. Results revealed that 
among students who reported high levels of self-forgiveness for procrastinating on studying for the first 
examination, procrastination on preparing for the subsequent examination was reduced. This relation-
ship was mediated by negative affect, such that increased self-forgiveness reduced procrastination by
decreasing negative affect. Results are discussed in relation to the impact of procrastination on self-directed negative affect.

Pychyl, T.A. (2009). Savouring the Flavours of Delay. English Studies in Canada. 34(2-3), 25-29.

Simpson, W.K., & Pychyl, T.A. (2009). In search of the arousal procrastinator: An investigation of the relation between procrastination, arousal-based personality traits and beliefs about procrastination motivations Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 906-911.

The comic below captures these results (see more at Carpe Diem)

Arousal procrastination?

Dann, M., & Pychyl, T.A. (August 4, 2009). Approach and avoidance personal goals: Goal appraisal profiles, congruence with personality and procrastination. Paper presented at the 6th biennial conference on Counseling the Procrastinator in Academic Settings, Toronto, Ontario.  

Carpe Diem cartoon - avoidance and approach goals

Sirois, F., Voth, J., & Pychyl, T.A. (August 4, 2009). "I'll look after my health later": A prospective study of the linkages of procrastination to health and well-being in undergraduate students. Paper presented at the 6th biennial conference on Counseling the Procrastinator in Academic Settings, Toronto, Ontario. 

Haghbin, M., McCaffrey, A., & Pychyl, T.A. (August 5, 2009).  Structural Equation Modelling of the relation between fear of failure and procrastination. Paper presented at the 6th biennial conference on Counseling the Procrastinator in Academic Settings, Toronto, Ontario. 

Shannahan, M.J., & Pychyl, T.A. (2007). An ego identity perspective on volitional action: Identity status, agency, and procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 901-911.

Speaking of identity and procrastination . . . Carpe Diem captures it! Identity crisis?

Research Books & Special Issues

Journal of Rational -Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Special Issue - Fall 2012:
Procrastination and Self-Regulatory Failure
Edited by Timothy A. Pychyl (Carleton University) & Gordon L. Flett (York University)

Journal of Rational-Emotive and Behavior-Therapy


About this Special Issue . . .
In preface to the papers in this special issue on the role of procrastination in maladjustment, we provide an overview of the topics covered.  To our knowledge, this is the first special issue that focuses specifically on the role of this form of self-regulatory failure in understanding maladjustment. We begin with a discussion of the complex array of motivational, affective, cognitive, and behavioural factors that operate in chronic procrastination.  These complexities are illustrated with case studies that highlight the role of negative self-views and associated deficits in self-regulation.  Themes explored in the papers include the role of cognitive factors in dysfunctional beliefs and automatic thoughts in procrastination, as well as the role of procrastination and deficits in self-regulation related to stress, psychological distress, and physical illness.  Another key theme addressed is the usefulness of REBT and cognitive techniques such as mindfulness training in reducing the tendency to procrastinate.  

Counseling the procrastinator in academic settings
Edited by H.C. Schouwenburg, C. Lay, T. Pychyl, & J.R. Ferrari
American Psychological Association: Washington, DC. (2004)
Counseling the procrastinator in academic settings
Abstract

Procrastination, as a sporadic or chronic response to task engagement, is a pervasive problem for a large number of individuals in many societies. For example, researchers have estimated that in academic settings in North America, over 70% of students exhibit this behavior. Many of these individuals are highly vulnerable to negative consequences such as poor performance, decreased subjective well-being, negative affect, and reduced life achievements.

In Counseling the Procrastinator in Academic Settings, a number of recently designed practical counseling methods for use in academic settings are described with the aim of promoting new intervention that can lead to change. In doing so, the authors also present theories of procrastination and provide an overview of recent research. School counselors, psychologists, educators, and administrators will find this book invaluable as they look for ways to counsel others on procrastination, work habits, productivity, and self-regulation.

Special Issue (2000) - Procrastination: Current Issues and New Directions
Journal of Social Behaviour & Personality
(Vol. 15, No. 5 - - Joseph R. Ferrari & Timothy A. Pychyl, Editors)
Journal of Social Behavior & Personality
About this Special Issue . . .

This volume contains 23 articles about both situational and dispositional forms of procrastination. The first section examines Situational Procrastination, particularly academic procrastination. The articles in this section look at personality and individual difference variables, such as self-esteem, perfectionism, and neuroticism; gender comparisons; and different student populations. Other studies on academic procrastination focus on motivational factors, goals, and planning skills. The second section of the issue explores Dispositional Procrastination. Empirical articles cover emotional states associated with procrastination, cognitions and perceptions related to task delays, motivational and attentional aspects of procrastination, and self-deception and optimism aspects of chronic procrastination.
 

 

What's new and
in the news . . .

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle cover

Tarcher/Penguin has republished "The Procrastinator's Digest" as "Solving the Procrastination Puzzle"
Available on Amazon
 - or bookstores in your area.
About the author

iProcrastinate podcasts logo


Psychology Today Blog - "Don't Delay"

New comic cartoon

Audioboo Logo

Check out my audioblog at audioboo.  3-minute "boos" about procrastination (RSS)

Philosophy Talk
Join Prof. Pychyl in conversation with hosts John Perry & Ken Taylor on Philosophy Talk


IN THE NEWS
The Beautiful Life of
Your Brain

Reader's Digest
by Kimberly Hiss

Dr. Procrastination
CTV News
by Joel Haslam

6 Ways to Lighten the Weight of Guilt
The Huffinton Post
by Lindsay Holmes

3 Ways to Avoid Distraction and be More Productive
Entrepreneur

10 Ways to Actually
Get Sh*t Done!

Archetypes
by Michele Laufik

14 Signs You're Really Happy (And How to Stay That Way)
The Huffington Post
By Lindsay Holmes

Cure Your Procrastination
What are you waiting for?

RadioMD
HerRadio

How to Stop Procrastinating
MEN'S JOURNAL
by Melaina Juntti

To Stop Procrastinating, Look to Science of Mood Repair
Wall Street Journal
by Sue Shellenbarger

Scientific American Mind cover

Sloth: To Stop Procrastinating,
Focus on Emotions

By Sandra Upson

Working Smarter: To cure procrastination, try the buddy system
Tech Page One
By Helena Echlin

Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination
Association for Psychological Science Observer
Observer Cover
by Eric Jaffe

Psst, procrastinators:Here's why you still haven't done your taxes
NBC News
by Melissa Dahl

Procrastination: un échec de régulation de soi-même dû à une gestion de l'humeur à court terme
Psychomédia

Most RRSP contributors wait for the last two weeks; TD Survey
National Post
by
Melissa Leong

A surprising antidote to procrastination
START IT UP
by Jessica Stillman

Ask the Experts: Why do we make New Year's Resolutions?
CardHub
by John Kiernan

Dr. Tim Pychyl

Treat your future self better - stop procrastinating now
Globe & Mail
By Beverley Smith

How I finally got around to getting my driver's license
Globe & Mail
By Courtney Shea

How to Streamline your Weekday mornings
Redbook
(at MSN Lifestyle)

What are YOU waiting for?
Procrastination
Deconstructed

Healthwise Ottawa
By Debra Huron

Keeping kids on track with their homework
Mom's Homeroom
By Joanna Nesbit

What's the hold up? The science of procrastination
WHYY Radio
(Philadelphia)

Why doing your taxes may be good for your health
FreshBooks Blog
by Sandy Braz

Can't get around to doing your taxes? Join the club.
Globe and Mail
by Roma Luciw

Put off by filing? It doesn't pay to procrastinate
Ottawa Citizen
by Tristan Worden

Why you procrastinate and how to stop
msnbc Today Health
by Jennifer Nelson

7 tax personality types
The Daily Beast
By Farnoosh Torabi

What to do if you've already broken that New Year's resolution
The Province
By Jennifer Saltman

Three words to a good life: Just do it
Toronto Star
By Jessica Hume

Holiday procrastination: Delay can pay
NPR (Tell me more)
Host: Michel Martin

Procrastination: comment s'en sortir?
lapressaffaires
By Iris Gagnon-Paradis

Stop putting so much off
Investors.com
By Gloria Lau

 Procrastinators often use social networks on the job
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
By Anita Bruzzese

Professor links putting off work to fear of failure
The Toronto Star
By Trish Crawford

Earnings and yearnings: The freelance Personality
Psychology Today
By Amy Rosenberg

A paralyzing fear of
filing taxes

The New York Times
By Charles Delafuente

Work Psychology:
Stop deluding yourself

The Globe and Mail
By Craig Silverman

The popular practice of putting stuff off
The New York Times
By Alina Tugend


Setting New Year's resolutions that work

 healthzone.ca
By Monique Savin

Procrastination: Ten things you should know
Psychology Today
By Hara Estroof Marano

Six Steps to help you beat procrastination
and
Getting things done
Ottawa Citizen
by Donna Jacobs

How to put work off - Constructively
by Cari Tuna
The Wall Street Journal
(for more on this see the NPR interview below)

National Public Radio - Talk of the Nation

Interview and call-in with Dr. Tim Pychyl & Dr. John Perry (Stanford) 

NPR blog

Stop Procrastinating - Right now!
GoodHousekeeping
Melissa Kirsch

Procrastination a Personality Trait
Ottawa Citizen
Jennifer Campbell

Procrastination: The thief of time
By Heather Pringle
NewScientist

workopolis logo
Story and Podcast about procrastination in the workplace

The ToDo Institute on procrastination

Getting out from under - How to stop procrastinating now
By Hara Estroof Marano
Psychology Today

Procrastination 101
The science of putting it off

by Jessica Winter
The Village Voice

Stop Procrastinating

Click the stop sign to learn more about dealing with procrastination

 

Is the to-do list doing you in?
By Kathleen McGowan
Psychology Today


Procrastination Nation
National Public Radio Archived broadcast (RealPlayer or Windows Media Player required) 


For a smile

Fresh Prince of Procrastination

The Procrastination Flow Chart

Procrastination is . . .

Gotta get my stuff done

the show with zefrank

Why Procrastinators Procrastinate

How to Beat Procrastination


(Click on the media type
you prefer to use)