Wharton Professor May Finally Have The Cure For Procrastination


Procrastination affects everyone, from the student trying to study for several exams to the employee struggling to meet project deadlines. While there are a lot of tips on how to overcome this problem, it's more of a trial-and-error thing - there's not a one-size-fits-all solution.

However, there may be hope yet. Business Insider reported that Wharton professor Katy Milkman has figured out a way to trick herself into doing the things that she ought to do by pairing it with the things that she enjoys doing.

"I struggle at the end of a long day to get myself to the gym even though I know that I should go," she said. "And at the end of a long day, I also struggle with the desire to watch my favorite TV shows instead of getting work done."

Milkman then realized that those two struggles "could be combined to solve both problems." As she tested her new strategy, not only was she able to go to the gym more regularly, she actually looked forward to it since she can do her favorite things afterward.

The Wharton professor refers to this strategy as "temptation bundling." This is when you combine a behavior that's good for you in the long run with a behavior that feels good in the present. Essentially, it's bundling behaviors that you are tempted to do with behaviors that you should do.

Milkman and her colleagues decided to conduct a research study about the exercise habits of 226 students, faculty and staff at the University of Pennsylvania. After teaching them about "temptation bundling," the team found that people who used it were 29 percent to 51 percent more likely to exercise as compared to the control group.

To create your own "temptation bundling" strategy, you need to create a two-column list. In the first column, you write down the things that bring you pleasure. In the second column, you write the tasks that you should be doing. Write as many behaviors as you can and check the lists if you can link one behavior from each column.

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