We’re in the middle of National Procrastination Week.  And I would’ve told you sooner, it just took me a while to get around to it.  (???)


If you’re wondering WHY you procrastinate, researchers from Ohio State University just reported on a link between our attitudes and our actions . . . particularly when we’re approaching tasks that we DON’T want to do.


There’s a term called “valence weighting bias,” which describes how much someone is influenced to act . . . by drawing more on their positive or negative attitudes.


The studies were complicated, but basically they found that people were less on the ball about something if they dreaded the idea of it MORE than they were excited about the positives.  So like feeling good about completing your taxes, or setting things in motion to get a tax refund.


Of course, you can incentivize people to procrastinate less . . . and the effect is MORE prominent when people don’t think about a task, and it’s LESS of a factor when people are motivated to think more about it.


This may sound a little unsurprising . . . and maybe that’s because we usually KNOW why we’re putting something off, but we still do it anyway.


That said, they do note that the valence weighting bias CAN lead to another kind of procrastination if your attitude is TOO positive . . . like putting off studying for a test because you feel confident about it, and you believe you’re already prepped, when you’re not.


Like a lot of things, balance is best.




(Maybe this is why making checklists can help some people overcome procrastination.  Putting something on a list makes you formally define the task . . . seeing it on the checklist makes you think about how you’d resolve it . . . and checking it off as completed creates a positive feeling.)