Psychological Self-Help

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about it!") and a poor substitute for working on the important
Ask yourself if you do any of these things. If so, don't let yourself
get away with it. 
In summary, what can the pleasure-seeking procrastinator do?
(1) Stop turning little inconvenient mole hills (like having to do
something unpleasant) into giant "ain't-it-awful" mountains, (2) be on
the look out for any self-con or cop out by which we deny the need to
work right now, (3) start to think more rationally--you don't have to
go to every party, you can get interested in a textbook, (4) make
detailed, realistic plans for achieving your long-range goals, and (5)
don't avoid work, DO IT NOW! Use the behavioral techniques
mentioned above. See McWilliams & McWilliams, 1991. 
I'm afraid this kind of advice to a procrastinator will do little good if
he/she continues to effectively use the self-cons mentioned above and
remains relaxed and self-satisfied. It is like a doctor telling an obese
person to lose weight or a smoker to stop. Ordinarily, such advice
doesn't help, unless the person has just had a terrifying heart attack!
Likewise, with the procrastinator, perhaps in a sober moment, he/she
will think, "Oh, my God! I've tricked myself into this stupid self-
defeating behavior--just like a drunkard or a fat person or a smoker.
That scares the hell out of me and makes me mad! I'm going to get in
better control of my life, starting at this moment!" I suspect these
kinds of remarkable changes in our life style will only occur when there
are powerful and sustained emotional forces inside our gut (like a life
threatening heart attack) to provide the motivation to persevere in
becoming a different person. This fear of the future must surely be
created by the procrastinator him/herself--others have probably tried
many times and failed ("Clean up your room, you'll grow up to be a
total slob" or "You have to study, you'll never get into college.") Good
luck in changing, but even if you continue to procrastinate, I hope you
have the happy life you are trying for.
We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we
need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
-Charles Kingsley
Helping the anxiety-based procrastinator
According to Fiore (1989), if the work pressure is already too
great, exhorting the tense procrastinator to "try harder," "get yourself
organized," "this is a tough job, so don't put it off," or "no friends and
no fun until this work is done" is counterproductive. Such typical
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