Procrastination is like a credit card: it is a lot of fun until you get the bill, once said Christopher Parker. At some point in our lives we have all been struggled to delay, avoid, and postpone things that are important to us.
Procrastination is a human behavioral “disease” that has been known for centuries. Even ancient philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle studied this kind of behavior and developed a word to describe it: akrasia. It is the state of doing one thing when you know you should be doing something else. In short, we could say that procrastination is a lack of self-control.
Have you ever wondered what happens in the brain that causes us to avoid doing things we know we should do? Behavioral psychology research has uncovered a "time inconsistency", a phenomenon that refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards higher than future rewards.
“The best way to understand this is by imagining that you have two selves: your Present Self and your Future Self. When you set goals for yourself — like losing weight or writing a book or learning a language — you are making plans for your Future Self. You are envisioning what you want your life to be like in the future. Researchers have found that when you think about your Future Self, it is quite easy for your brain to see the value in taking actions with long-term benefits. The Future Self values long-term rewards. However, while the Future Self can set goals, only the Present Self can take action. When the time comes to make a decision, you are no longer making a choice for your Future Self. Now you are in the present moment, and your brain is thinking about the Present Self. Researchers have discovered that the Present Self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff. You cannot rely on long-term consequences and rewards to motivate the Present Self. Instead, you have to find a way to move future rewards and punishments into the present moment. You have to make the future consequences become present consequence,” says James Clear, author of the international bestselling book Atomic Habits.
There are various strategies we can use to stop procrastinating and act more productively. One of them is to make goal more attainable, which you can do by breaking them down into smaller and measurable objectives. Psychologists recommend that you also record your progress visually. When you see your planned and already completed tasks, it will bring you forward.
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