Procrastination and Blocking: A Novel, Practical Approach

Procrastination and Blocking: A Novel, Practical Approach

Procrastination and Blocking: A Novel, Practical Approach

Procrastination and Blocking: A Novel, Practical Approach

Synopsis

Procrastination means putting off a difficult, delayable, important task in favor of something easier, quicker, and less anxiety-provoking. It also means delaying vital actions until the performance and result are less than they would have been if done in a timely manner. Similarly, blocking means that we stumble, delay, and panic in response to a demanding responsibility. Blocking typically occurs when we face public scrutiny (as in writing). In this revisionist and sometimes irreverent book, the author takes academic and professional psychologists to task for neglecting a pair of related problems that are often derided but that can be profoundly debilitating for individuals and economically devastating for schools, businesses, and communities.

Excerpt

Procrastination, in my view, consists largely of opting for shortterm relief through acts that are easy and immediately rewarding, while generally avoiding even the thought (and its anxiety) of doing more difficult, delayable, important things. Its effects can be seen most commonly in the everyday "busyness" of people doing what is unnecessary and supposing themselves productive but never being quite able to catch up with all the things they most need to do. Busyness, as will be discussed later, is a usual companion of procrastination. Procrastination occurs more obviously, at least in the view of casual observers, in situations such as people queuing up at post office windows just before annual IRS deadlines. It occurs less conspicuously but more seriously among those of us whose tax forms are still unfinished while we fret well past that midnight hour. And it acts most insidiously as the busyness that kept us from doing the taxes in the first place.

Blocking means getting stuck at a difficult transition point (for example, while beginning or ending a major project), usually because of paralyzing anxiety and uncertainty, often because the task will be evaluated publicly or because the taskmaster is distasteful.

In common practice, procrastination and blocking are overlapping and inseparable, even though scholars and practitioners still like to keep them separate. I'll explain as we move along (for . . .

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