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What Does Procrastination Do To Your Happiness?

What Does Procrastination Do To Your Happiness?

In September 2014, two British professors wanted to find out what happens when students do not hand over their assignments on time. Their study threw up an alarming surprise, which, if the students knew, would make them give up procrastination forever.

First, the professors David Arnott and Scott Dacko decided to define the procrastinators as the ones who wouldn’t submit their end-of-term tasks until the last day. Then they dipped into five years of submission data on 777 marketing students from their own Warwick Business School, and found that while each of these students had four weeks or more to hand over their assignments, only about a hundred had done so before the last day. The rest (669 of them) waited out until the last 24 hours to submit their task.

That is, 86% of them were procrastinators.

In a different study at the University of Vermont done in 1984, it was found that 46% of the students had reported they procrastinate writing academic papers. But even that figure might not the surprise all of you. Students are known to be ‘natural-born’ procrastinators to school homework across the world. Everybody knows how busy the lives of young college-goers can be. So, 86% could seem unsurprisingly normal.

The real surprise uncovered itself in the final 24 hours. As they analyzed the data, Arnott and Dacko found a disturbing pattern emerge as the last day of the submission had begun. The students taking another hour from here on started getting lower marks. It was happening by the hour. For example, someone who submitted at 3pm got lower marks than those who did at 2pm.

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It was as if every passing hour was chipping away their scores. The worse the procrastination, the worse were the marks. So clear was the pattern that those who handed in their assignments at the last minute, had the worst grades of all. In fact, these last-minute guys saw a full 5% drop in their marks over those who had checked in their tasks before the start of the last day.
Now, mind it, those five percentage points are substantial for students, because they could well translate into a half or a whole letter lower grade. A possibly ‘B’ could end up getting ‘C+’, just because they handed in their tasks late.

What Procrastination Does To Your Happiness?

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    The verdict is out: Good things don’t always come to those who… procrastinate. Procrastination takes away your happiness. It has been proven over many studies and surveys.

    Procrastination Research Group carried out a survey with over 10,000 respondents, and found that 94% of them reported that procrastination indeed does have some negative effect on their happiness.

    According to Procrastination and Science, almost 70% of the procrastinators were found to be less happy than an average person.

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    As the Warwick study showed, when the students waited until the last minute to tie up their assignments, they got the worst grades.

    Habitual procrastination could damage relationships, create an unflattering reputation of carelessness, and invite setbacks in career and work prospects. Procrastinators frequently resort to lies to reason out their delays, and are often found out, leading to disastrous consequences. And you could swear that all of that can take away a sizable bit of their happiness.

    The big culprit here is regret. It’s a story that goes around in a predictable circle: Procrastinators begin with hope, then go into anxiety, guilt and self-criticism, and end up in regret. Next project, same cycle.

    What Do You Know About Procrastination?

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      Procrastination is not taking action. It is avoiding starting something you mean to start. It is avoiding finishing something you’re supposed to finish. It is doing something else, or lots of something else, when you know you should be doing a certain important thing.

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      Experts classify it into two types – decisional (putting off taking decisions) and avoidant (putting off doing things).

      Perhaps, all of us procrastinate at some of the times. While some of us do it more, and some less, but the truth is none of us do it all of the time.

      The three main areas of our life that we procrastinate on are education, career, and health.

      1. Education: We saw in the opening paragraphs how pervasive is procrastination in the education field. For many of us, this problem can be traced back to our earliest school years when we were perhaps slow learners, and got labeled by our peers and teachers. And we carry the label long after school.
      2. Career: On the career front, most of us know at least one person who despises his current job and desperately wants to change it, but doesn’t. Like a lost soul swimming in circles in a small fish bowl, perpetually planning to dive out into bigger water, but never makes the jump. That lost soul is often the person we know the best – our own self. Are you sure that person isn’t you?
      3. Health: We’re really bad procrastinators when it comes to health. Think of the new year’s day health goals that you set for yourself and kept delaying starting out on them, year after year. Think of that regular half-hour yoga that never came around, or those eight glasses of water or those eight hours of sleep that could never become a reality. That smoking habit that you left and picked up back so many times that you feel ashamed to even whisper it.

      Why Do We Procrastinate?

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        Procrastinators have a complicated relationship with time, and often believe Time is up against them and they have outsmart it somehow. But even then, procrastination is not just an matter of time-management. Rather, it is a complex psychological problem with deep roots into self-esteem issues.

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        The main reasons that make procrastination likely are:

        1. Uninteresting: We delay doing it till eternity because we find the work utterly boring and without any fun. That comes from the human nature’s basic Pain-Pleasure Principle – we run from painful activities and go after pleasurable ones. Scientists call it task aversiveness.
        2. Impulsiveness: Procrastinators have been found to be largely impulsive too. Being impulsive, they fail to handle their goals effectively, and keep jumping from task to task leaving most of those unfinished. Some researchers even argue that procrastination is a by-product of impulsiveness, even when these two behaviors seem polar opposites (just give it a thought!).
        3. Low Confidence: We don’t feel sure of our abilities and presence that we can tackle something effectively. We don’t do things because of fear of failure or even fear of success. This is the issue of low self-esteem that is believed to be the strongest reason.
        4. Anxiety: We have often felt that when a deadline is right upon us, we end up procrastinating more. That is anxiety causing us to procrastinate. In that anxiety, we drive ourselves busy doing everything else other than the project at hand. Suddenly, our desk clutter needs to be cleared immediately, and our cars need to be taken for service.
        5. Goal Problems: When the goals are not clear, or the goals lie too far into the future, or there are no goals at all, we procrastinate.
        6. Perfectionism: People who search for perfection often end up procrastinating. Perfectionism in certain fields is demanded by default, as in competitive sports and classical music. But for most, this is a handicap that leads to an unending delay in finishing things.
        7. Heredity: Procrastination could be 46% heritable, as a study on 347 Colorado twins indicated. Which means there is half a chance that you may have got it from your parents. But remember, that’s half a chance. The rest is how your environment molded you into.
        8. Mental Illness: Procrastination has been found to occur in some serious psychological illnesses, as borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety, addiction problems, as well as in strained relationships.

        How Can We Beat Procrastination With Science?

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          1. Avoid Procrastination. This is the best method. As the professors hoped after the Warwick study that the teachers recognize the habitual procrastinators in time, and help them change their study habits. To do this, set clear goals with realistic timelines, break each goal into many sub-goals, and measure and review progress at fixed time-points.
          2. Get A Growth Mindset: This is a concept researched and presented by Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,” she writes. Building into yourself a growth mindset can increase your self-worth, and help take new tasks as challenges to thrive on rather than shirk from.
          3. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy that centers around accepting what is outside your personal control, and committing to action that enriches your life. It has shown remarkable short-term as well as long-term effects in decreasing procrastination, especially academic procrastination. If you want to learn mindfulness quickly, here’s how: Mindfulness in 7 Steps.

          Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek/picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

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          Sandip Roy

          Medical Doctor

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          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

          Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

          Or even better:

          What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

          You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

          Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

          How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

          The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

          In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

          • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
          • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
          • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

          As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

          Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

          Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

          But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

          his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

          5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

          Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

          But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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          1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
          2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
          3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
          4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
          5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

          Who can use Excel shortcuts?

          There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

          • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
          • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
          • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
          • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

          Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

          With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

          25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

          Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

          1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

          If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

          2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

          If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

          If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

          3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

          Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

          =sum(

          …and then press F3.

          When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

          4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

          Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

          =match(

          …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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          When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

          But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

          5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

          If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

          • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
          • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
          • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
          • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
          • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

          6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

          By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

          The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

          For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

          A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

          7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

          When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

          8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

          When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

          9. Use filtering

          Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

          It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

          To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

          10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

          Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

          Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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          To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

          11. See formula results with F9

          If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

          Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

          12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

          If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

          13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

          Here’s how to use EDATE:

          =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

          =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

          14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

          Here’s how to use EMONTH:

          =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

          =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

          15. Remove spaces with TRIM

          TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

          16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

          In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

          17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

          When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

          And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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          18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

          If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

          19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

          Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

          You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

          20. Use data validation

          This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

          • Create dependent drop-down lists;
          • Create drop-down lists;
          • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

          21. Use conditional formatting

          It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

          22. Use formula auditing

          This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

          The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

          23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

          Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

          It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

          24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

          INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

          25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

          OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

          The bottom line

          As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

          That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

          If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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