Why do some people seem to have their lives super organized, and some of us always wait to do things until the very last minute? It’s all about procrastination.
If you’re not a procrastinator, allow me to explain to you what it means. Procrastination is the habit of consistently delaying tasks that you need to do, often in favour of more fun, albeit unnecessary, activities. It doesn’t mean that you’re lazy, but it does mean that you often find yourself in a mad panic as you near a deadline and suddenly realize that you haven’t even started the work yet!
I know what you’re thinking, why don’t procrastinators just manage their time more effectively? Why don’t they use a to-do list? Have they even heard of the Pomodoro method?! Unfortunately, none of these methods will work for the true procrastinators.
For procrastinators, our mind is not controlled by a rational decision-maker, as much as we may like it to be. Instead, we are piloted by an instant gratification monkey, a term coined by Tim Urban, a self-described Master Procrastinator. Back in the Stone Age, we would have been great cave people, but unfortunately, we now live in a world full of deadlines that need to be met and tasks that need to be completed.
Our need for instant gratification doesn’t work very well with our rational decision-making process, and in the brain of the procrastinator, instant gratification almost always wins. Funnily enough, the fun activities that we do to replace work often don’t end up being fun anymore, especially when we use them to procrastinate. Procrastinators often find themselves doing random activities that hold absolutely no value while feeling very guilty and anxious, all because of the fight between our needs and our wants.
So, how does the procrastinator manage to meet deadlines?
It’s simple really, we procrastinate until we can procrastinate no more and are hit with the tidal wave of panic that comes with a looming deadline and no prior preparation.
Procrastinating is not a great way to get by in life though, it isn’t fun, and it’s hard to reach your full potential when you’re producing work under pressure every single time.
Wait But Why Why Procrastinators Procrastinate
Some things that help the real procrastinators (not just the pretend ones on Facebook) might help you too. Sometimes, writing a to-do list with tasks broken down into tiny steps can help you, but if it doesn’t then create your own wave of panic. For example, if you have an assignment due, tell your professor that you will hand a draft in earlier than the final paper needs to be handed in. You maybe won’t become the-world’s-least-procrastinating-person-ever overnight, but you might start to see small changes that will all build up into significant improvements.
Ending your procrastination cycle will help you to achieve your actual potential and allow you to enjoy your fun activities even more. What else could you ask for?
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