The Science Behind Procrastination, How to Fix it?


The sun is setting, but the deadline isn’t finished yet. Despite knowing you have tons of things to do, you spend another 25 minutes doing the most irrelevant things to your task just after you finished a sentence. Does it happen a lot? Then, do you have a problem with procrastination? 

Why do we procrastinate? That is the main question we need to ask ourselves

Through Tim Urban’s insightful session on Ted Talk, he describes what does procrastination look like through a simple metaphor, “Instant gratification monkey”. The instant gratification monkey only cares about two things: easy and fun, and if you are put under great pressure he will sneak out into your brain and takes control of it, which then lead you to watch some videos on YouTube instead of finishing your work. Deep inside, you know precisely what you need to do, even you already write a timeline you need to follow to get your stuff done, but the procrastination monkey does not care.

Then, how do we shoosh the monkey away?

When the deadline is setting in, your inner self would wake up and shake the monkey away, because something scarier is coming, the “Panic Monster”. The panic monster is what makes you capable of working nonstop in stressful situations and finish whatever project you’re currently working on just before the deadline. However, the panic monster cannot be summoned just anytime you want, because just like the monkey who comes when you’re in “do-not want to work mode”, the monster only comes to “save” you through a not very comfortable situation.  

After knowing what’s behind our procrastination brain, can we identify the reasons we procrastinate?

Graham Allcott, the founder of Think Productive and author of A Practical Guide to Productivity, identifies reasons for procrastination through a method called DUST. DUST is an abbreviation of difficult, unclear, scary, and tedious, and if you find your tasks fit with all of these fours, then you may find yourself procrastinating the tasks. 

Also read: 5 Easy Ways to Create a Productive Workspace

Even so, there are hopes for you–us procrastinators. Then, are you ready to change? Follow these tips to get the lazy side of you back on track:

  • Change the way you start your day

It’s the very basic thing that you can do to flip your day around. First, you can try to create a new habit for yourself, such as, do some exercises, take an ice-cold shower in the morning, tidy up your room and begin the day with some meditation.

  • Force yourself to f-o-c-u-s

Many people fail to focus because they keep opening some unnecessary tabs on their windows, and you can actually force yourself to stop doing so. First, you can try installing an app called StayFocused on your Chrome. This app will lock you out from any links that do not have any correlation with your works except the ones you allow to use. However, if this app still cannot hold you to work, you can try the extreme way which is by shutting down your internet connection and finally start making a progress on your work, how does that sound?

  • Fake deadlines

If you happen to be a deadliner who works effectively under great pressure, then you can trick yourself by making fake deadlines for your work. Use google calendar to set a reminder for your deadlines and push the dates a few days earlier than the actual deadline. It can be an amazing strategy for you deadliners. So, do you want to fix your procrastination?

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