Future is Now: How to stop procrastinating

Future is Now: How to stop procrastinating
Highlights

A team of researchers has found procrastination, the thief of time that derails New Year\'s resolutions and delays saving for college or retirement, can be tricked by believing the future is now.

A team of researchers has found procrastination, the thief of time that derails New Year's resolutions and delays saving for college or retirement, can be tricked by believing the future is now.


Lead researcher Daphna Oyserman from University Of Southern California said that the simplified message that they learned in these studies is if the future doesn't feel imminent, then, even if it's important, people won't start working on their goals.
Through a series of scenarios, Oyserman and co-author Neil Lewis Jr. of the University of Michigan found that study participants perceived that the future was much more imminent if they thought of their goals and deadlines in days, instead of months or years.
Oyserman said that through this shift in time metrics, people can motivate themselves to accomplish their goals. In an initial series of studies, researchers found that the participants planned to start saving four times sooner when they thought of the event in days instead of years.
Follow-up studies found that participants felt long-term saving was important, but those who were assigned to think of college or retirement starting in days rather than years felt more connected to their future selves and were more willing to save.
Oyserman said this could prompt them to set aside spending on present-day rewards in favor of long-term saving.
The study is published online in the journal Psychological Science.
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