July 24, 2024

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People who see the world as sunny are less likely to procrastinate

People who see the world as sunny are less likely to procrastinate

This is because people with an optimistic outlook are less afraid of the outcomes of their tasks, according to new research at Harvard University University of Tokyo.

The idea that optimists are not always realistic is absolutely true. Previous research has shown that people who view the world through rose-colored glasses can overlook real risks. For example, warnings like “Smoking kills” don’t work if people estimate the risk to be small, as researcher Tali Sharot previously explained to Scientias.nl. But ideas like maybe the coronavirus isn’t that bad or that we’ll stop global warming in time also show the downside of positivity, studies say: If we’re too optimistic, it prevents us from taking action.

However, not all of us have to look at the glass as half empty. A healthy dose of optimism has many benefits, too. Optimists can deal better with concerns about future events, have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and live longer. Researchers from University of Tokyo They found a new benefit of optimism in a recent study: it prevents procrastination.

Visions of the future
This is what researcher Saya Kashiwakura found Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to University of Tokyo. Together with Professor Kazuo Hiraki, she interviewed nearly three hundred Japanese people in their twenties about their ideas about stress and well-being, and how these ideas changed for them over time. To do this, participants had to research experiences surrounding stress and well-being from ten years ago to the present, and reflect on their expectations about this for the next ten years.

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Based on the answers, the participants were divided into different groups. Initially they were grouped based on their predictions for the future. Within these groups, the researchers looked at the degree of procrastination among participants. This detail showed that it was not only the degree of stress experienced previously that played a role in procrastination, but also how participants viewed that stress and how that perception of it changed over time. “Optimistic people who believe that stress will not increase in the future appear to be less prone to dangerous procrastination habits,” explains Kashiwakura.

Cleaning instead of studying
The researcher realizes from her own life that fear of the future is a reason for procrastination. “I have struggled with procrastination since I was young. I tidied my room when I had to study for an exam, and I prioritized practicing aikido over postdoctoral research. The habit of putting off important tasks was a constant challenge,” Kashiwakura said. Personal reason, says the researcher “When I realized that I did not want to face the future impact of my actions, I decided that my behavior had to change.”

The researchers want to use this knowledge to develop new ways to make people view things more optimistically in order to combat procrastination. “We hope that our findings will be useful in the education sector,” says Kashiwakura. “We believe that students will achieve better results and feel more well-being if they can scientifically understand their tendency to procrastinate and actively work to improve it, rather than blaming themselves.”

This knowledge has already helped Kashiwakura in her own life. “This result has helped me have a lighter perspective on the future, resulting in a more direct approach and less procrastination.”

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Get rid of deadlines
To get something done, we often impose deadlines on ourselves or others. But surprisingly, not setting a deadline seems to be the most effective. This is due, according to researchers, to the principle “procrastination leads to adaptation.” Furthermore, deadlines indicate the importance and urgency of the task. “A longer deadline tells people that the task is not urgent or important, which gives them permission to procrastinate.”