“Today I really start to work on that task” – What helps against procrastination?

“Today I really start to work on that task” – What helps against procrastination?

Do you know the feeling that a big task lies ahead, but everything else seems more important – and you only start with it when the time is almost over? Clear case: you are procrastinating.

But there is something you can do. In a scientific study mindfulness was investigated as a possible way how to diminish procrastination. Mindfulness describes a psychological state where people are aware of their current situation in a non-judgmental and accepting way. In the study, 174 participants had to complete a questionnaire about their mindfulness, their procrastination and attention. Also, the participants described a task they would like to complete during the next month but might delay completing. Based on the obtained data, the scientist could show that an increase in mindfulness leads to better attention which in turn was associated with a decrease in procrastination. The given relationship between the three variables supports the positive effect of mindfulness against procrastination. Additionally, the scientists divided the participants into two groups: One group were assigned to a mindfulness exercise and the other one to a control exercise. After completing the task, the participants indicated their intention towards the task. As expected, the people in the mindfulness condition, who heard audio-instructions intended to non-judgmental awareness and attention to present body sensations, including breath, showed more intention to work on the task then the control group.

So, if you belong to the 50-95% of the (student) population who frequently procrastinate, give it a try with mindfulness exercises.

Reference: Schutte, N.S., del Pozo de Bolger, A. (2020). Greater Mindfulness is Linked to Less Procrastination. International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41042-019-00025-4

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