If you regularly clean out the kitchen cupboards when you should be paying bills, and pay bills when you should be filling out tax forms, you may suffer from constructive procrastination. The term simply means substituting one useful activity for another perhaps not so useful activity, the end result of which is an extraordinarily tidy office, though perhaps not the report that was due on Monday. Psychologists are loath to knock this one on the head, as some procrastinators would rather nip down to the pub (not constructive) than do something useful like weeding the drive. But by replacing something that one would normally put off for an activity that one has put off makes the residual guilt much less. Often, the sight of a perfectly organised cubicle with Post-it notes arranged in symmetrical rows just so is enough to inspire the writing of the report anyway.
Helen Kirwan-Taylor – firstname.lastname@example.org