Procrastination Is The 1 Thing Everyone Has Time For!

PROCRASTINATION IS THE 1 THING EVERYONE HAS TIME FOR!

When I started this blog a year ago, I decided to write a post about procrastination.  After all, procrastination is the 1 thing everyone has time for! Plus, I am an expert at procrastination. An authority. I promptly (the audacity of using that word!) spent a year putting this off. 

PROCRASTINATION IS THE 1 THING EVERYONE HAS TIME FOR
PROCRASTINATION IS THE 1 THING EVERYONE HAS TIME FOR

Flash forward to a month ago, when I once again decided to revisit procrastination. What better way to research a post than to take a walk? I dragged my husband and Louie outside.

Louie loves the beach
Louie never says no to a walk.
How to stop procrastinating
How to stop procrastinating? This is not the best way.

We saw a manatee! (What I’m doing above is taking this cool video!)

Once we returned, I immediately began researching manatee facts, which lead me to click on a video about octopuses (see post about a new octopus species) which took me down a YouTube spiral.

I ended up watching fashion videos about which colors look best with metallic shoes –that I don’t even own– and how to create the perfect smokey eye. Mine turned out more like the 2nd pic.

By nine PM, I tore myself away, went outside, and looked at the night sky. I began to wonder how long it takes to get to Mars. (photo courtesy NASA, where I spent at least another hour)

Mars and procrastination
How long does it take, you ask? This depends on your propulsion system for starters...

BLAME THE INTERNET

This is hard to believe, but the internet did not give rise to procrastination! (I enjoy blaming inanimate objects for my issues.)

Actually, there is a recent study that does blame social networking for increased procrastination!

If you want to read more about the pitfalls of social networking, I’ve compiled intriguing and eye-opening information in this post!

Are You Remotely Controlled
ARE YOU REMOTELY CONTROLLED?

PROCRASTINATION PODCAST IF YOU PREFER TO LISTEN!

Let’s get back to procrastination!  After all, procrastination is 1 thing everyone has time for, right? Right!

What is procrastination? I asked Louie for his take on it.

Procrastination : an irrational delay of intended actions despite expecting to be worse off.

Louie typing
Louie never procrastinates. Why do I?

WHY DO I PROCRASTINATE SO MUCH? (I won't point fingers here.)

So why am I my own worst enemy?

This starts in our brains!

Neuroscientists have found that procrastination is a battle between the ‘feeling’ part of the brain and the ‘rational’ part of our brains.

The limbic system and the prefrontal cortex.

Procrastination_Limbic System and Prefrontal Cortex
A battle is going on in my brain!
The Limbic System = The Feeling Part of Our Brain
Controls 'fight or flight' responses, emotions, and pleasure-seeking.
Limbic System is most often linked to impulsive behavior
We like feeling good and we want to feel good right now
The Prefrontal Cortex
Evolved more recently (~15 million years ago)
Click Here
Prefrontal Cortex is responsible for complex behaviors
Such as planning for the future.
When strong emotions, i.e., anxiety & fear become overwhelming, the impulsive limbic system can still win out
That's when we put off more daunting tasks for the temporary relief of binge-watching Netflix!
We give in to feel good!
We procrastinate. Or at least, I do!
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Procrastination is an emotion-focused coping response.

We use avoidance to cope with negative emotions.

Well, you may not but I do.

PROCRASTINATION AND COVID

All right, I’ll address the elephant in the room. Procrastination and covid. 

Covid has made things worse. (What else is new?) 

The pandemic seems to have driven an increase in 'Bedtime Procrastination'.
Click Here
People put off going to sleep to engage in leisure time!
The rise in remote work & learning creates challenges in differentiating between workspaces and spaces for relaxation.
A lack of structure is detrimental to people who struggle with procrastination.
The pandemic has caused increased stress, anxiety, & depression, leading to more people suffering from negative emotions
Remember that our limbic system eschews bad feelings!
This has led to more procrastination
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Let’s look at the plus side of putting things off.

Sing the Birthday Song
The plus side of any birthday is CAKE!

PROCRASTINATION HELPS CREATIVITY

Studies show that people tend to remember incompleted tasks better than completed tasks.
I AGREE!
Click Here
This is called the Zeigarnik effect
I find if I stop a task mid-way, I more often go back to it later.
Such as writing half a blog post! Or half a scene!
Our first ideas, after all, are often our most conventional.
Click Here
When people played games before being told about the task, there was no increase in creativity.
It was only when they first learned about the task and then put it off that they considered more novel ideas.
In this case, procrastination encouraged divergent thinking
In the short term...
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Other experts disagree

They say everyone wants to turn a vice into a virtue

We can save this psychological issue for another post!

Sure, stopping mid-way in a task can help the creative juices flow. But this isn’t going to work if we put off the task for three weeks. Or three months.

Beat Procrastination ! says Louie
Hibernation, anyone?

BEAT PROCRASTINATION

While procrastination can be a tough tendency to fight, experts say there are things we can do to avoid falling into its mental trap.

(Don’t ask how long it took me to choose that fun giphy above…okay, you can ask but the answer validates this post!) 

Why do I procrastinate so much
Procrastination is trying to get you!

A FEW TIPS TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION

By telling a friend or family member, iow stating your goal out loud, this helps makes it more real.

Some experts say that telling people in your life about your goal can be counterproductive! (Like me telling my husband I wasn’t going to purchase anything on online for three months. Not my best idea.)

So if you prefer someone more neutral, email me and just type out your goal! 

Post-its on my monitor are immensely helpful. 

I create calendar events all the time.

It also makes me feel more popular when I’m getting notifications!

a 2020 study in the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology found that people who practiced even brief mindfulness exercises were more likely to stay on task.

I have a mediation app called ‘Waking Up’ that calms me right down!

My son told me about this! You work while a person works on a video. There is often a timer going. 

I like this! Once in awhile, I glance over at the video. The person is concentrating and it motivates me to stay focused.  I feel as if I need to keep at it  because the person on my screen is working.

Search ‘youtube study with me.’ Or try this one. Or this one.

I admit that there is a danger of falling down the YouTube chasm of which study buddy to watch, but this method works really well!

I find that I’m much calmer when I work out first! Or take a break and go work out instead of watching Netflix. (We’re still working through Criminal Minds, but I have an after 8 PM rule! Okay, after 7. But still, it’s rule!)

Procrastination is the 1 thing everyone has time for
Maybe a selfie WHILE exercising is okay!

A FEW MORE TIPS TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION

THE BEST ADVICE I'VE FOUND IS TO AIM FOR SLOW, STEADY PROGRESS
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR TASKS IN SMALL BITES
This also helps spark creativity!
Getting an A doesn’t always happen after a three-hour cram session.
Our short-term memories weren’t built to last. Hence the term ‘short term.’
REVIEW RIGHT AWAY
Take 15 minutes after each lecture to read through your notes. You’ll retain more, making your exam studying far less stressful. Less stressful quells that ancient anxiety, which triggers the fight or flight. (In this case, probably more flight than fight)
A PAGE A DAY MEANS A BOOK IN A YEAR
I tell myself this often!
A drawer a day means your entire kitchen is uncluttered and clean in a month.
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PROCRASTINATION QUIZ....OR SURVEY IF THE WORD QUIZ CAUSES ANGST

I thought it would be fun to take a quick procrastination quiz! This way, you can see if you are really a procrastinator or not! 

Of course the responses are subjective but what isn’t subjective when it comes to psychology?

Procrastination & covid

Ironically, some would say a procrastination quiz is a form of procrastination.

I say this is information-gathering!

King penguins walking on the beach
Not penguins gathering!

This is my first quiz so please let. me know if there are any glitches!

Think of it as a procrastination survey if the word ‘quiz’ makes your hands sweat!

This is a self-assessment survey, devised by by a procrastination research group in Canada. 

Click on the link below! (It will take you less than a minute. I bet you have time!)

Procrastination Survey _ Make Sense of Science
Prcrastination Survey? Let's go!

CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY / QUIZ : ‘ARE YOU A PROCRASTINATOR?’

 

…Unless you’re rather bookmark this page and put it off for later! 

PROCRASTINATION: THE 1 THING EVERYONE HAS TIME FOR

Kidding aside, everything we do is a choice. When we think this way, it  gives us more control over our propensity to put things off!

Defeating procrastination is the same thing as gaining control over your own life.

ARE YOU A PROCRASTINATOR QUIZ _ SURVEY
Don't think about it tomorrow!

Much of what makes us happy or unhappy—from levels of satisfaction and self-esteem, to regrets —is severely affected by procrastination.

I’d write more on this topic but I see some dust on the table. I better get right on that!

Let me know in the comments below what you think!

Are you a procrastinator like me? 

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70 thoughts on “Procrastination Is The 1 Thing Everyone Has Time For!”

  1. I absolutely loved reading this! I’m also a procrastinator, so I related to a lot of this! Thanks for sharing, this was so fun! 🙂

    Reply
  2. This was so interesting to read. I’ve definitely fallen into that trap where I start by researching one thing then a few hours later I’m still on the Internet but looking at something completely unrelated.

    Reply
  3. This is the the first post on procrastination I have read in its entirety. I have started a lot. Like A thousand. Maybe more. I don’t know why, just never get to the end. Barely even start. Love that you mentioned the Zeigarnik effect. It’s possibly my favourite mental hiccup. Keep up the great work. You deserve more readers.

    Reply
  4. Procrastination and I go together like a hand in a glove, and although I was procrastinating long before the internet was freely available, having constant access to online content certainly has made it easier to procrastinate

    Reply
  5. I actually find that procrastination helps me make serious decisions. Sometimes just sleeping on it or exercising help you clear your mind and then reset the so-called computer in your head. Great post as usual. Mike

    Reply
    • I’m happy that you brought this up. I focused on creativity and letting ideas percolate, but yes, getting away from serious decisions does help take the emotional component out of the equation. In a sense, no emotion means taking control of our limbic system via procrastination. Thank you for pointing this out!

      Reply
    • Vivien Leigh was a beauty so your score fits on one level! I thought I was more of an expert but I have the average designation. (boring!) We’ll need to try virtually working together with our own zoom study meeting. Sound off, of course. Thanks.

      Reply
  6. Well, my middle name is ‘tomorrow’ 😅, yeah, I’m a really bad procrastinator. I try to use music to ease my mind since I get distracted so easy. It can be really annoying when you got school assignments due. I enjoyed the quiz and this post!

    Reply
    • I’m happy you tried the quiz! Interesting about music. I know people who work to music. The ‘study with me’ videos, some do play music, too. Music can be soothing. Good luck with your assignments! And thanks.

      Reply
  7. I am a very keen procrastinator lol, I already do the calendar events but as a fairly analog kinda gal i think the post it notes are a great idea so im going to add those into my day!
    Great tips!

    Reply
  8. I loved reading this, I can relate to it so much haha! If you could get paid to procrastinate I’d honestly be a millionaire! I loved the quiz, it was so interesting to do. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  9. I took the quiz, I’m an average procrastinator! Oh my! Which reminds me I have a couple of pages to read and I am reading blogs and taking quiz! Thanks Sue for the scientific notes. Personally I write down tasks to make sure I finish what I intend to do, because if i don’t chances are they don’t get done!

    Reply
    • I was surprised that I’m an average procrastinator, too. (I thought I’d score higher) Writing down tasks makes them more real, I agree. Sometimes, I add tasks to my lists after the fact, just so I can cross them off. HA Thanks.

      Reply
  10. A fun read! I am especially intrigued by the Zeigarnik effect. The idea about the tension of an unfinished task I think could also apply to family members’ differing abilities to remember certain shared experiences or places. Good rabbit hole!

    Reply
  11. Love that procrastination is the one thing we all have time for – that’s so true. Although I sometimes procrastinate I very rarely do it as I always prioritise tasks rather than getting distracted – I scored 16 on your quiz! Great post.

    Tash – A Girl with a View

    Reply
  12. Your healthy dose of humor and honesty throughout this writing makes it both a learning experience and an entertaining read! I procrastinate sometimes, but being aware of it helps me get into a more productive mindset. Exercise and to-do lists are definitely motivational. <3

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  13. This is really fascinating. I knew a bit about procrastinating, and our tendency to favour short-term reward over long-term payoffs, but the science behind it is intriguing. Perhaps I’ll try and lean into it instead of tackling it to increase creativity!

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  14. I definitely struggle with procrastination daily. COVID lockdown has increased this challenge since we’re just home all the time and lacking energy. I feel so good when I finally cross something off my list though!

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    • Ha! Funny that you bring up multitasking! I used to think I was a superstar at multitasking. I’ve read a few intriguing articles about this topic and am changing my opinion, too. I’m so happy my post resonated with you! Thank you!

      Reply
  15. As a fellow procrastinator, I definitely approve of the sticky note method. It’s so satisfying to cross out something that I have finished. The only problem is that I have about a dozen of them 😂

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  16. Every time I read one of your blog posts I think it’s your best one yet, but this one … it truly is. At least the funniest. So well done. Can’t wait to have you talk at our library.

    Reply
    • I thought I’d shared too much of my foibles, so I’m glad you think this post is still solid! I’m excited to do an experiment at your library too! I’ll try my best to stay serious. Hm…no, I probably won’t. Thanks!

      Reply
  17. I am such a procrastinator and I always have been! Reading this post made me wonder if you had been watching me. I go from one thing to the next without really finishing anything. I always find something to distract me. I can’t really help it, at least that’s what I tell myself. Great post!

    Reply
    • Your comment that I’m watching you is funny, because I am observing myself! Apparently we have much in common! We can both try to bounce around less! Or not.Thanks so much, glad you liked my post.

      Reply
  18. This is your third post read by me and I totally remember because of your writing style! You mix a bit of humor with intellect that makes it an enjoyable read. I really enjoyed it. I’m a procrastinator myself and loved this post. Learned some bits too. Thanks <3
    Isa A. Blogger
    http://bit.ly/39f9FN0  

    Reply
  19. I’m really trying to beat my procrastination at the moment. The more overwhelmed I feel, the more I put things off and funnily enough, that’s not a spiral that works! Or, rather, it works too well. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • I agree, that particular spiral remains a vortex of inefficiency. I had procrastinated w/ changing out an electrical outlet for months. When I finally got to it, it took me half an hour. You’d think I’d learn but no! Drop me a line the next time you have a task that keeps getting moved to the new ‘to do’ list. Maybe we can motivate each other, because I’ll have one of those tasks, too. Thanks so much.

      Reply

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