Psychological Self-Help

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Knaus (1977) call this the easily-frustrated, self-indulgent
procrastinator. As suggested by Maslow, these procrastinators may be
addicted to people or preoccupied with meeting their more basic
emotional needs, e.g. for attention and approval by peers, love, or
self-esteem. For some students, these other needs make studying
almost impossible. 
In addition to emotional needs, the relaxed procrastinator's
thoughts may push him/her away from his work or studies. For
instance, their basic belief system may center around thinking that
"my long-range goals require too much hard unpleasant work." To
such a person the gain is not worth the pain, especially since the
necessary work is seen by them as so distasteful or boring or stupid
that they just can't do it. A quick-starter, on the other hand, knows
he/she can handle the drudgery. This relaxed procrastinator gets to
the point of saying very irrational things to him/herself, such as: "I
have to have something going on--I can't stand being bored" or "I
must feel like studying before I can get started" or "I hate taking tests
so much, I can't enjoy anything about studying" or "I hate math and I
can't stand the teacher" or "If I don't like to do something, I shouldn't
have to do it" or "Since teachers make me do things I hate to do, I
hate them" or "Since I hate teachers and school, I won't do any more
than I have to do--and I'll look for shortcuts, including cheating,
whenever I can" or "Studying is so terrible and useless, it makes sense
not to do it." So, they procrastinate by finding something fun to do
and, then, rationalize their behavior. 
So, what causes procrastination? Basically, it is fears, but each
procrastinator develops and responds to his/her own specific fears. In
varying degrees we are all afraid of facing reality--life's challenges, the
hard work and frustrations ahead of us. You can either deny reality or
face it, i.e. say there is "no problem" or admit (maybe even
exaggerate) the problems. Thus, there are relaxed, fun-loving
procrastinators and tense-worried procrastinators. From a behavioral
viewpoint, negative reinforcement plays a major role in the
development of procrastination, i.e. behaviors (watching TV) and
thoughts (rationalizations or excuses) enable students to avoid
unpleasant work. Escape from something unpleasant is reinforcing.
Procrastination is an escape. 
How to stop procrastinating 
If we begin with the notion that procrastination is not the basic
"problem" but rather an attempted "cure" for fears, self-doubts, and
dislike of work, then it is obvious that most procrastinators will have to
focus on the real problems--underlying fears, attitudes and irrational
ideas--in order to overcome the procrastinating behavior. After
accepting this idea, the next step is to figure out what the "real"
underlying problem is for you. Start by asking, "Am I a relaxed or a
tense procrastinator?" Tense procrastinators suffer from strong,
sometimes mean, internal critics (see chapter 14); relaxed
procrastinators have bamboozled their self-critic by denying reality.
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