The phenomenon of procrastination is understood as the tendency to put things off, leading to psychological problems. Comparing procrastination with laziness is incorrect since the procrastinator does not rest but wastes energy on unnecessary actions instead of investing resources in what needs to be done. On the one hand, it is a normal mental reaction to avoid unpleasant or seemingly tricky tasks, but it often turns into serious trouble. All people are prone to procrastination to one degree or another, some to a lesser extent, some to a greater, but all, without exception, have to do with this phenomenon.
Explaining the situation, the author says that there are zones in our brain responsible for rational decision-making and instant gratification. For procrastinators, zones of instant gratification take over every time an important task needs to be done, postponing until a critical moment. Considering our animal nature, the zone of instant gratification works to our advantage in certain situations, but this does not work for our good when it comes to complex tasks.
A person does everything, just not what he needs to do at the moment, experiencing a range of negative feelings. A person needs a critical moment to eventually get down to business, which will help stimulate the necessary motivation and desire. As a fight against procrastination, the author suggests thinking about postponing, remembering the instant gratification zone, and understanding that life is not so long. The speaker proposes to look at the life calendar, in which there is a box for each week of a 90-year life (TED, 2021). It is vital to realize since there are not so many boxes left in this calendar, it may be worth starting to act today.
In the long term, procrastination can be considered a negative form of coping with the situation, as the speaker mentions in the video. Since the situation is not limited by time, the procrastination mechanism will not work until the end, and everything is postponed indefinitely. This long-term procrastination is usually not discussed and less often noticed, and it affects a person’s life for years, it can be a hotbed of prolonged suffering and regret. Long-term procrastination makes people watch life pass by. They are not upset that they didn’t fulfill their dream, but because they couldn’t even begin to move towards achieving their dream.
For procrastinators, a positive form of coping is when an assignment or situation is limited in time. In this case, the person gives himself or herself a little extra time to collect information for the task. Since, without doing, a person still spends energy on a specific task that he or she does not tackle, procrastination allows the bad ideas associated with the situation to die out on their own.
Internal motivation comes from the person, and external one is dictated by circumstances and other people, these two types of motivation presented are related to procrastination. Usually, the procrastinator lacks external motivation since a person does everything necessary only when the external pressure increases. However, it is proven that strong intrinsic motivation can cause a person to procrastinate too. Therefore, it is desirable to maintain a balance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to prevent the mechanisms of procrastination.
Moreover, procrastination provides an opportunity to enjoy action and involves a symbolic experience of own freedom, rest, and switching from tasks requiring serious preparation and deliberate efforts. According to the speaker, our inner “rational decision-maker” and “instant gratification seeker” can coexist in cases that do not require much effort. Otherwise, conflict arises, and procrastination mechanisms are triggered. We can reframe procrastination in a more adaptive way to promote resilience or use this time to our advantage.
We can write down a list of useful things to do during breaks in advance; this will allow you to procrastinate with benefit. Starting with simpler tasks, gradually completing the basic ones, or even getting rid of unnecessary tasks from the list altogether can be quite successful practices in the fight against procrastination.
TED. (2021). Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban. [Video]. YouTube. Web.