Overcoming Procrastination - A Mindfulness Based Solution

Bachelorarbeit, 2009

24 Seiten, Note: 1,3


Table of content


On Procrastination

How do people develop a proper sense of themselves?

The structure of post-modern society

Aren’t we just lazy?


The vivious circle of Procrastination

More than just one side of the coin

One step ahead

A mindful way of solving



The society has changed during the last decennia. People have to develop their sense of identity within these changing structures. This leads to new problems human beings are confronted with. Procrastination is one of these problems but is more than just not doing what one has intended to do. It is an expression of the changing mental possibilities of human beings. Furthermore, it is a reaction of the changing circumstances individuals have to deal with in post-modern society structure. Procrastination can be regarded as a malfunction of to much state and less act orientation within a person combined with the failure, due to the effects of post-modern societies’ freedom of choice , to transform any intention into action. So it could be a failure in affect regulation. Techniques for exercising consciousness such as Mindfulness could give a proper sense of themselves back to people , what could tribute the development of identity and could lead to less procrastination. By transforming the unconscious and uncontrolled circle of procrastination into a conscious chain of non-decision it could be solved and overcome.

On Procrastination

People have to write papers, have to learn for exams or any other task they have to fulfill which are not as joyfull as others. People are confronted with one common problem: they can’t get themselves to start. They dally, they are busy with alternative tasks like washing the dishes, cleaning their room or any other task keeping them away from starting the initial task. So it can become a fight to begin with this task. Instead of starting with i.e. writing their paper they do other things to keep themselves busy. Science calls this phenomenon procrastination.

The meaning of the word “procrastination” itself is interesting to translate: it comes from the Latin words “pro: ahead, forward “and “crastinus: tomorrow”, so you can summarize that it means to put something off to a future point of time. And it is a very prevalent phenomenon, because almost 20% of the population has to deal with this every day. But what exactly makes someone a procrastinator? What is it people are fighting with? Science tries to give a proper answer to that kind of questions, because the topic of people dallying gets more and more interest in the scientific world. Isn’t it possible that this is due to an ineffective working sense of ourselves? Because how do we know when to do what and what we are capable of is dependent of our inner self-consciousness. Society has a proper impact even on this specific abilities and on how we develop them for managing our time and tasks.

How do people develop a proper sense of themselves?

To get the feeling of being one’s self and getting an identity there are many necessary steps. Sigmund Freud (1926) developed a system of 5 stages of development within young childhood which are to solved for becoming a well-functioning adult. Freud’s theory is based on the sexual drives inherit in human beings, called “libido” and forces humans to explore their sexual drives. It even structures all human life. Freud saw through his own parents, that if the sexual development does not succeed it will lead to neurosis. All of these 5 stages know there own erogenous zone which are explored most during that stage. Not succeeding to develop a normal relation to the body part the phase includes leads to fixation. Fixation is the stagnation within that phase and not being able to get to the next one. The phases are: the oral phase (0-18 months; erogenous zone: mouth), the anal phase ( 18- 36 months; erogenous zone: anus), the phallic phase (3-5 years; erogenous zone: genitals), the latency phase (6 years- puberty; erogenous zone: whole sexual feelings develop) and the last one the genital phase (puberty +°°; erogenous zone: all sexual desires mature).

But not everything in identity and self-sense development is due to the human inherit sexual drive. The neo-Freudian psychologist Erik Erikson (1959) goes one step further by adding a social component to the process of gaining self sense. He points out that during one’s lifespan there are many crises one has to get through for reaching a proper sense if identity achievement. He divides life into a phasic lifespan of 8 typical crisis . Each period is characterized by the psychosocial background and the crises fitting to this background, that a human being is confronted with during each phase. Sense of self, or identity is achieved if all these phases with their crisis are successfully solved. Erikson states that there are crises in human life that have to be solved otherwise there would occur what Freud calls “fixation” in one of these stages what would result in never achieving a full sense of self. The following chart depicts this developments with all it’s outcomes. The first 5 stages are to equate with the 5 stages of Freud.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Erikson’s psychosocial development

(Form: http://www.myuccedu.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/ericksone28099s-psychosocial-stages.jpg)

It is a lifelong process to develop a fully sense of self, for getting to know who one is, what one is e able to do and what one really wants to do. It is a question of getting to know oneself with all the individual limitations and capabilities.

And it depends on another factor Erikson points out with these lines:

Erikson (1968, p.50)

“… the perception of the self-sameness and

continuity of one’s existence in time and space and

the perception of the fact that others recognize

one’s sameness and continuity.”

Continuity and even more important: recognition by others are factors influencing this process of self sense. But there arises a problem in how humans structure their social life which can result in a problem in developing a proper sense of themselves.

The structure of post-modern society

Human beings have to develop a proper sense of their individual capacities , wishes and urges. They have to do this within the context of the community they live in. People have needs and urges as described in the hierarchy of Maslow (1968).His idea is that human motivation for action arises from a hierarchy of needs that need to be fulfilled. Hierarchy, because the basic, physiological needs such as food and shelter must be fulfilled first before needs of love and belonging as friendship must become fulfilled. The highest needs are the one of self actualization as creativity and problem solving. I propose that post-modern society has succeeded to fulfill the basic needs for nearly everyone, and a problem is the human need to belong to a group described by Maslow as well. Love and belonging are rare in post-modern society because nowadays many live in a community with growing individual responsibility of everyone. Mainly in the western world individualisation gets more and more popular, whereas the need to belong perhaps would support a more collective system of society. People in the pos-modern western world aren’t born in a family with a fixed curriculum vitae, but are born in a world full of possibilities and options without anyone directing them through the sea of possible “me’s” (me = identity).


Ende der Leseprobe aus 24 Seiten


Overcoming Procrastination - A Mindfulness Based Solution
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen  (Faculty of Social Sciences - Department of Social and Cultural Psychology)
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
852 KB
Note: 8 von 10 Punkten (Niederlande) entspricht (lt. dt. Notensystem) ~1,3
Procrastination., mindfulness, identity, meditation, prokrastination
Arbeit zitieren
Miriam Thye (Autor:in), 2009, Overcoming Procrastination - A Mindfulness Based Solution, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/201497


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