The procrastination doom loop, and how to break it

This approach isn’t merely self-defeating. It also creates a procrastination doom loop. Putting off an important task makes us feel anxious, guilty, and even ashamed, Eric Jaffe wrote. Anxiety, guilt, and shame make us less likely to have the emotional and cognitive energy to be productive. That makes us even less likely to begin the task, in the first place. Which makes us feel guilty. Which makes us less productive. And around we go…

People often schedule reminders to complete a project significantly before the deadline, so they have time to complete it. But this strategy often backfires. Some practiced procrastinators are both “present-biased” (they choose ESPN.com or BuzzFeed over work every time) and overconfident about their ability to remember important tasks, according to a new paper by Keith M. Marzilli Ericson. As a result, they often put off assignments, only to forget about it until long after the deadline. Procrastination and forgetfulness are bad, independently. Together, they’re a double-headed meteor hammer smashing your productivity to tiny little bits.