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March 29, 2014

I Was Going To Write A Post, But I Got Distracted... - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

There are two types of people: Those who only sometimes procrastinate those who are so inclined to it that it creates havoc in their lives. Lately, I tend to be the latter of the two. So, while I should have been practicing using MS Visio all day, half my day was spent here with you fine folks.

My procrastination has been so bad today that I actually researched "procrastination" in order to procrastinate a bit longer. Then, I tweeted about my procrastination in order to drag it out even further. Then, others joined in, and it was clear that I am far from the only one.

Well, the fine folks at The Next Web blog have posted a very timely article on the science of procrastination, and it makes all the sense in the world.

It's a fight or flight response.

The amygdala is the section of the brain associated with our automatic emotional reaction to a situation. In moments of being overwhelmed, such as having many tasks to do or a difficult one to do, there is a fight (resistance) or flight (ignore) reaction.

Both are procrastination – the brain is protecting us against possible negative feelings. The norepinephrine chemical takes over, causing increased levels of fear and anxiety. Adrenalin gets pumped in.

We are addicted to dopamine, which is produced by pleasurable experiences. So long as a task has a higher historical likelihood (or perceived future likelihood) of producing dopamine, our brain is addicted to reproducing these activities… and avoiding the others.

Do you want to play Candy Crush or do tax returns? Yeah.


It occurs to me that, if we identify the cause, we can also mind-play our way through it. Perhaps we can tell ourselves repeatedly that the faster we get it over with the faster we'll feel relief that it is over. Or... perhaps we can stop hitting ourselves in the head with the hammer in the first place because procrastination seems to arise from fear... fear of failure, of rejection, of not being good enough and, frankly, isn't the world tough enough without us kicking the crap out of ourselves on a daily basis?

Tell them about it, Stuart.




Are there any bad habits you're trying to break?


Open thread.

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posted by Open Blogger at 08:04 PM

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