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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aami06
aami06
March 18, 2021 9:59 am

I’m surprised that I scored in the ‘first things first’ category! The quiz was fun. Thanks.

Retirestyle Travel
Retirestyle Travel
March 18, 2021 10:44 am

Reading your fun and interesting post has contributed to my procrastination (and I don’t mind at all).

Melissa Kacar
Melissa Kacar
March 18, 2021 12:08 pm

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! 🙂

Kelly Diane
March 18, 2021 12:13 pm

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.

The Apocalypse Daddy
March 18, 2021 12:18 pm

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.

The Apocalypse Daddy
Reply to  Susan Berk Koch
April 19, 2021 8:51 am

Following.

Ha, how can you not love something called Zeigarnik. I have seen the effect in my children. It helped me realise why sometimes they can’t get to sleep.

https://theapocalypsedaddy.com/the-zeigarnik-effect/

Unwanted Life
March 18, 2021 1:00 pm

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

Mike
Mike
March 18, 2021 2:53 pm

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

Fransic verso
March 18, 2021 7:46 pm

I totally agree with you haha Instead of doing and putting effort on our goals, we tend to procrastinate a lot. Great post!

Eileen
March 18, 2021 8:18 pm

Apparently tomorrow is my middle name – but it worked for Scarlet O’Hara so I’m okay with that 🙂 Another great post, Sue!

TheQuietGirl (Anissa)
March 19, 2021 3:13 am

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!

Emma
March 19, 2021 6:52 am

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!

Not-So-Modern-Girl
March 19, 2021 7:08 am

Ooh I love this post! Thank you for sharing, I am such a procrastinator and I think these are some useful ideas 🙂 I definitely need to start planning my weeks better x

Not-So-Modern-Girl
Reply to  Susan Berk Koch
March 19, 2021 5:45 pm

Haha yes very true, sometimes it’s easier said than done!

Charley
March 19, 2021 7:14 am

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!

Vinn
March 19, 2021 9:37 am

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!

Amie Cadwallader
March 19, 2021 11:05 am

I am so guilty of this, but I’ve definitely got better at being less of a procrastinator by planning my day! It makes my life so much easier!
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan

Anika
March 19, 2021 11:47 am

I can definitely be a procrastinator so this is super relatable! And I’m totally checking out that quiz now, great post 🙂

Anika
March 19, 2021 11:50 am

I can definitely be a procrastinator so this is super relatable for me, haha! And I’m totally checking out that quiz now, great post.

nortoncharity
nortoncharity
March 19, 2021 7:51 pm

What a fun post. I am not much of a procrastinator myself but this was awesome to read

Jenny in Neverland
March 20, 2021 3:46 am

Great quiz! My score was 16 but that’s no surprise to me I’m not a procrastinator at all!

mithraballesteros
mithraballesteros
March 20, 2021 12:49 pm

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!

JoJo’s Cup of Mocha
March 21, 2021 9:48 am

It’s so hard not to procrastinate but I try my hardest not to! Very interesting to learn more about procrastination!

agirlwithaview1
agirlwithaview1
March 21, 2021 11:35 am

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

Jaya Avendel
March 21, 2021 2:55 pm

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

Tom
Tom
March 22, 2021 3:55 am

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!

Kalin
March 22, 2021 6:08 am

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!

Luke Slater
Luke Slater
March 22, 2021 6:09 am

I don’t believe I consider myself as being a procrastinate, but there again I might be! I just try and get everything done in one go, because it’s easier!

Lisa's Notebook
March 22, 2021 6:37 am

You had me hooked at the title – this resonates with me so much! I think women are probably more prone to procrastination than men due to how good we are at multi-taking, haha!

Hannah
March 22, 2021 6:04 pm

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 😂

Eva Apelqvist
Eva Apelqvist
March 23, 2021 3:44 pm

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.

Heidi Bruaw
Heidi Bruaw
March 25, 2021 12:49 am

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!

Isa A
Isa A
March 25, 2021 1:17 pm

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  

I'm All Booked Up YA
April 5, 2021 3:43 pm

We try not to be one by keeping a planner. However, everyone procrastinates at some point. Thanks for sharing!

Lindsey
April 16, 2021 3:48 am

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.

Susan Berk Koch author

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