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How to beat procrastination: The role of goal focus


Krause, Kathrin; Freund, Alexandra M (2014). How to beat procrastination: The role of goal focus. European Psychologist, 19(2):132-144.

Abstract

Procrastination, defined as the subjectively aversive inability to initiate or complete the pursuit of a given goal, is a common phenomenon in academic contexts. This theoretical paper presents a dynamic model that centers on the role of goal focus in influencing procrastination during goal pursuit. Our central hypothesis is that focusing on the means of goal pursuit (i.e., adopting a process focus) reduces procrastination, particularly when fear of failure is high. Focusing on the means should decrease the salience of performance outcomes and thereby reduce fear of failure. This, in turn, should facilitate the initiation and maintenance of goal pursuit. In contrast, when means are perceived as unpleasant (high task aversiveness), focusing more on the outcome of goal pursuit (i.e., adopting an outcome focus) should reduce procrastination by directing attention away from the means while highlighting the importance of goal achievement. Furthermore, the model takes account of dynamic contextual factors, particularly the distance to a given deadline.

Abstract

Procrastination, defined as the subjectively aversive inability to initiate or complete the pursuit of a given goal, is a common phenomenon in academic contexts. This theoretical paper presents a dynamic model that centers on the role of goal focus in influencing procrastination during goal pursuit. Our central hypothesis is that focusing on the means of goal pursuit (i.e., adopting a process focus) reduces procrastination, particularly when fear of failure is high. Focusing on the means should decrease the salience of performance outcomes and thereby reduce fear of failure. This, in turn, should facilitate the initiation and maintenance of goal pursuit. In contrast, when means are perceived as unpleasant (high task aversiveness), focusing more on the outcome of goal pursuit (i.e., adopting an outcome focus) should reduce procrastination by directing attention away from the means while highlighting the importance of goal achievement. Furthermore, the model takes account of dynamic contextual factors, particularly the distance to a given deadline.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:30 Jan 2014 14:59
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:25
Publisher:Hogrefe & Huber
ISSN:1016-9040
Additional Information:This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in European Psychologist. It is not the version of record and is therefore not suitable for citation.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000153

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