Want To Stop Procrastinating? Change Your Perceptions With This Neat Trick

The researchers used some neat tricks to change people’s perception of the task.

The researchers used some neat tricks to change people’s perception of the task.

People start a task sooner when they believe it is part of their present, research finds.

So, the key to avoiding procrastination is moving a task from feeling like part of the future to feeling like part of the present.

In the study, the researchers used some neat tricks to make people think a task was part of the present or part of the future.

In one, they gave some participants an assignment on the 24th of April, giving them five days to complete it.

Other participants were given the same five days to complete it, but were not given it until the 28th of April — so that the deadline fell in May.

People in the first group had the feeling the task was part of their present and so they were more likely to begin it.

Those in the second group felt it was part of May so were less likely to begin.

Remember, both groups had the same time — five days — so it was just the perception that caused some people to drag their feet.

Dr¬†Yanping Tu, the study’s first author, said:

“The key step in getting things done is getting started.

If you never get started, you can’t possibly finish.

But that urgency, that need to actually work on a task, happens when that task is seen as part of a person’s present.”

The trick with starting any new project is to choose the easiest and/or most enjoyable part of it and do that.

Any way you can sucker yourself into starting will drag the task into your present and kick start your motivation.

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research (Tu & Soman et al., 2014).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.

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