Timothy Pychyl, an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, defines procrastication this way: "Procrastination is the voluntary delay of an intended action despite the knowledge that this delay may harm the individual in terms of the task performance or just how the individual feels about the task or him-or herself. Procrastination is a needless voluntary delay." He has spent 20 years studying and writing about this pattern which researchers call "giving in to feel good."
Procrastination, he continues, is "a problem with not getting on with life itself." In this case, we are our own worst enemy as we put off or postpone our goals and tasks.
Pychyl zeroes in on a new approach that goes beyond time management and other more traditional strategies: doing mood repair. He suggests a technique called "time travel" where procrastinators envision in their minds the buoyant and satisfying feelings they will have after meeting their deadline or accomplishing their goal. Other material here covers the challenges of getting started and then dealing with distractions, obstacles, and setbacks. Giving up and giving in stem from a basic problem with self-regulation which in turn has to do with motivation.
Pychyl concludes with commentary on the new hurdles presented by the Internet. The amount of time wasted browsing around the web is staggering. The entrepreneur or person who works at home and doesn't have someone looking over his/her shoulder has to cope with the eclipse of deadlines and goals in the face of multiple temptations to feel good. The Internet is "a procrastination superhighway."