Well, I finally got around to writing something about procrastination!

Perhaps a cheap joke but procrastination can be the bugbear for many a wanton soul intent on starting and completing a task.

Research suggests that in the region of 24% of people procrastinate over one thing or another. One might argue that this is only the tip of the iceberg since it’s highly likely that not everyone got around to completing the procrastination questionnaire in time!

Procrastination has fascinated the psychology world for many years and continues to do so to this day. The psychologist, Zeigarnik loved to people-watch, as do I. One day, she observed in a restaurant that the waiters knew exactly what the customers had ordered when they were about to pay; yet, when asked what the customers had ordered when they had only recently paid the waiters were unable to fully recall what had been ordered! Fascinated by how that might be she set about exploring a possible theory.

Her conclusion, in lay terms, was that the closure of the event brought the mind into a state of “Phew, that’s over” allowing the mind to forget the facts, as they were no longer important. However, until the customers paid, the waiters’ minds wouldn’t ‘let go’ of the items on the bill. Their minds remained in a slight state of anxiety, and so crucially held the information.

Fascinating too, it appeared that as the event had not reached closure (order placed, food delivered to the table but no payment made) the waiters’ minds would keep unconsciously ‘nagging’ them with the information until payment (closure) had been made.

I can personally relate to that in another context. I learnt off by heart part of a script that I was to perform this summer since I was unable to see my script while performing since my arms needed to be outstretched. Straight after the event I was unable to remember the lines that I had delivered from memory! At the time I was curious as to why this occurred: now I know! I had completed the event so the facts were no longer held.

What has this article got to do with procrastination? I was getting around to that! Psychologists Fritzsche, Young and Hickson in 2003 found that ‘just doing a few minutes’ on an arduous task: something that you don’t want to do would not only help people to start the task but that the mind would then ‘nag’ them to keep going until the task was done.

We all like closure. For people who procrastinate closure is often missing in their lives. It’s stressful and frustrating living in such a state so how about helping yourself with one of the best ways possible? ‘Just do a few minutes’. You’ll get the job done: your mind won’t leave you alone until you do!

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