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Last updated March 29, 2017 (originally published April 22, 2013)

By A. Lee, Contributing Columnist and Editors, MangoBoss

We are a world built around time. In every developed
nation on earth, we humans have a concept of the
preciousness of time. From the time we are children, we
are taught about the value of this invisible thing called
time.  "Stop wasting time!" is an admonition we have
heard since we were old enough to understand human
speech.  "Be on time". In the Western world, and
increasingly in the Eastern world of China, we have
become time-keepers, ever vigilant of the need to count,
keep track f and never, ever "waste" time.  Hard work.  
Wasting time can take the form of doing nothing. Wasting
time can also take the form of putting off things you need
to do, technically called procrastination.  Why do we waste
time? Are there natural remedies that can help us stop
wasting time? Is there a cure for procrastination?

Why Wasting Time Is a Problem

Why, really, is wasting time a problem? From a society's
point of view, time wasting directly affects a nation's
productivity, its gross national product (GNP).  In the US,
Americans enjoy the highest per capita income in the
world, according to the 2012 report of the Organization of
Economic Cooperation and  Development. Much of that
relative wealth  stems from the high productivity of US
workers. Americans don't waste time.

That is why, if you are an American or if you live in any of
the other capitalist juggernaut countries around the globe
such as China, Australia or emerging nations such as Brazil
and Chile, you probably have felt pressure since you were
a child to "make something of your life".  That societal
pressure makes sense since a nation cannot continue to
enjoy a high standard of living ---unless of course it has
unique natural resources such as oil or minerals or some
other resource it can sell to the rest of the world  ---
unless it also has productive workers. Busy, busy, busy
makes the aggregate economic engine purr and the
salaries grow.

Causes of Procrastination

Scientists have begun to recognize different causes of

Perfectionism Makes You Waste Time

With perfectionists, the perfect can become the enemy of
the good.  Unable to believe they can achieve
perfectionism, highly intelligent people often put off trying
because they are unwilling to produce something that is
simply"good.  Good isn't good enough, and I'm not good
enough to produce perfection, so why try.  Years of
dwelling on the perfect pile up into years of delay in
getting going.

In a 2012 study of perfectionism procrastination,
researchers from the University of Florida's Department of
Psychology examined students who procrastinated in the
early, middle or late parts of a semester. What they
discovered is somewhat surprising. Students who are
highly perfectionist did not have increased levels of stress
at the end of the semester if they had procrastinated early
in the semester. They were relatively unfazed. But
students who were not as perfectionist --low level
perfectionists as, the study called them --  and who
procrastinated early in the semester, felt most stress at the
end of the semester.

Perfectionism is not just an impediment in academic
studies. Studies of athletes who are perfectionists found
that they are more likely to experience burnout than
athletes who take a more well-rounded approach to

A 2008 study from the National Taiwan Sport University
looked at 320 college athletes whose average age was 19
to measure  to what extent they were perfectionists and
how many suffered from burnout. They identified that a
kind of perfectionism --- maladaptive perfectionism --
made an athlete more prone to burnout.  With
maladapative perfectionism, athletes drive themselves to
achieve an unrealistic goal.

When you suffer from maladapative perfectionism, you are
self-defeating and you have no choice but to become
either depressed or to start to procrastinate.

The solution is to try to turn those unreasonably high
expectations into something positive.

The key is to focus not on results but on process.  When
you know that you have put in the effort, let the results
fall where they may.

Night Owls Tend to be Procrastinators

Are you a night owl? Do you start to get active in the
evening? Does the night time seem to fit you more than
the daytime? If so, then you have what scientists call

Eveningness is the trait of preferring the evening to the
day. All of us are made to either prefer the day --- you
know, those early risers and "morning people" --- or the

Scientists have discovered that being a night owl
predisposes you to procrastination.

In 2008, a research team from Grant MacEwan College in
Edmonton, Canada discovered that night owls suffer
generally from lack of self-control, tend to suffer from
disruptions in their sleep patterns and are more likely to
abuse substances. Ouch.

They also are far more likely  to be procrastinators.

So, what can you do if you are a night owl and you want
to stop procrastinating?  

Continue reading  page 1  
page 2

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Why Asian Men Don't Get As Much Prostate Cancer
Night owls are magnificent creatures. But if you're a night owl, you also tend
to procrastinate.
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