What is behind procrastination?
Students, colleges, workers, even housewives suffer from an extremely popular problem. guess what is it ?! the procrastination, this expression becomes trendy in the day and age. We can simply say that it is the delaying of the things that you have to do at that time; whether it is work, studying, learning a new language, or even house working. But how that occurs?
That occurs when someone has something to do, he doesn’t do it. Although he knew he had to do that, he doesn’t! but why most of us do that? Why might one of us delay the work to the last time, however, he could work, study, …ECT and make a grade; why this person prefers to be late?! That seems illogical, doesn’t it? Let’s see the view of some scientists that searched in this problem.
In one of The biggest meta-analysis that carried out by Dr. Piers Steel (in 2007) 90% of the colleges said that they suffer from the procrastination in their academic life, means that they can have to study and they delaying it until last two weeks and finish there studying in this period of time.
Perhaps it sounds weird to you. I would like to say that it isn’t the only case. in research set up in 2017 by Lee Hadlington & Kathryn Parson on the factor that affects the people during the working time, the found that 45% of the employee spends 3hours a day surfing on the internet. Here are very crucial examples of procrastination that allow us to think about this very seriously.
There is a mystery now we have to think about it:
Why we do that?! what forced us to delay our work however we know how important doing this work is? What forced this percentage of colleges to delay their studies? Here there is a different scenario is presented explaining this mechanism and the possible reasons behind that strange behavior; some of these reasons are psychologically and some of them are physiological, let’s know them
The causes of the procrastination
Some psychologists describe it as a defense mechanism the brain create it as a result of fearing the final result of the work, more clearly if you are a student or college so you delay your studying and tasks for the last time and then you begin to study directly before your exam, then when your result come out you can now say that not all you own and begin to take the shortness of the time as a pretext (excuse) for your failure.
So, the avenger here that the final result may be express your real abilities and that don’t satisfy us as humans, we cannot say that this the result is what our abilities reach, so we delay this work or even don’t do it escape from these thoughts. “We blame my behavior, not my abilities”.
Perfectionism is the second main psychological reason for procrastination, it can seem for the first glance to be good or positive but unfortunately, it fools your sight. Perfectionism is simply is the desire of your work to be perfect and the continuous feeling of the need for your work to be perfect. But is the negative here?!
Perfectionism can make you give up working for fear that your work doesn’t be perfect and can make you delay the work, again and again, waiting for the most suitable conditions, that how weird the relationship between perfectionism and procrastination. So, my dear, the work mustn’t be perfect hundred percent!
But as well as there are some physiological reasons or more accurately shapes of our brains and neurons connection.
The amygdala!! One of the important structures of the brain and belongs to the limbic system and involved in emotions. As fear confusion, tension, and so on.
Some researches prove that the procrastinator has a larger amygdala than a normal person. And they have less ability to resist the scattering and stress & anxiety. So, they always fear that they are missing something or they have to do another thing so they left what they do now. What else?!
A study that connection between the brains of the procrastinators
There is a study was published at Nature in 2016 looking for a connection between the brains of the procrastinators by checking them by the fMRI (functional magnetic residence imaging) that they have weakness in the prefrontal cortex of their brains, which responsible for self-introduction; as a result, some of these people introduce themself that they delay their work!!
Don’t panic! All of that is no a problem in the procrastinator’s brain but it just differences in our nerve connection and the strength of some centers of the brain and weakness also.
After you study this problem very well now we can now show you some solutions that the scientists have got up with throughout ages. When I say “throughout age” I mean that it isn’t a newborn problem, but it presents from the days of the pharaohs. And from the beginning of the human, he wasn’t planning for his future or something like that he was focusing only on the short-term works as fishing for food, reproduction for living. So, there was no presence for the long-term works so our brain has programmed on the short-term works.
The trial of the scientist to solve this problem
To go into the solution directly now there are many ways to stop procrastination as dividing the big work into simpler & smaller tasks, facing the fear of failure …etc. All of that has the same scientific base. In my opinion piers steel; which is one of the most important researchers in this concept, he writes two popular books “solving the procrastination puzzle” & “the procrastination equation” in this book, he shows the factors that cause & affects procrastination, by a very wonderful way.
Let’s go through the equation now:
But wait!! Where the procrastination in this equation?! Ohh I forget to tell you that motivation is inversely proportional with motivation. So, by increasing the motivation the procrastination will decrease directly.
Let’s describe the factors one by one.
The value is the income or the prize of work (more specifically the good result of the work) and it is directly proportional to motivation, so our target is to increase the value. So, if you are a student and success means a lot for you, therefore here there is a really strong value. And as a result high motivation, so my advice to you is to be in the place you really love and do what you like not the other!
But it isn’t usually in your hands so we can increase the value in another 2 ways:
You can put extra prizes for tasks that you complete if there is a bit boring task you can promise yourself with your favorite drink if you have made a progress in your work or even a game or anything you like to be your prize.
The second way is by taking the opposite of the above, by the way, I don’t prefer this way, but at the same time, it can make sense to most of us. What is this way?! Is thinking of the bad consequence that will occur if you don’t do this work. if you are a student is to avoid parental indignation, god’s punishment, …
The second factor is expectancy this can be defined as your confidence in yourself & your ability to do this work and is directly proportional to motivation too.
We can increase it in two ways: The first strategy is called the “success spiral” which by dividing the work into smaller and simpler tasks easy, it will prove that you can do it. The second way in determining the opposes that may face you in the work before you begin and begin to solve it at least be well informed to avoid depression when it faces you during the work.
It the duration between the work you do and the positive result of this long-term work. as if you are doing workout nowadays waiting for good health but you won’t earn that now it will give you up but after a period of time so here the delay is high and the motivation is low according to the equation.
So, we can do something like the “success spiral” but how?! We can divide the work with long duration to small parts with a small period of time. And putting small prize for this task.
It is the last and the most different factor, firstly it refers to your ability to resist the scatter. It is very different because it depends on you, your character, and your behavior. You may notice that in all of the previous factors their value depends on the work itself. Only this factor differs from one person to another according to everyone’s volition. So the impulsive person has rapid reflex action that provides him with instant gratification and impulsiveness is the main cause of “chronic procrastination “. The people who suffer from it procrastinate in everything if it complex, or even the simplest thing and easiest. It is a terrible thing, isn’t it?!
By returning to the equation, we can see that our target. It is to decrease impulsiveness so there are two ways to achieves this: –
The first way is using a stopwatch for working for a short period of time as 15 to 20 minutes and there is the “Pomodoro mechanism”. It can really help you because our ability to resist the distraction for a short period of time is very high.
You can also write a distractions list and every thought that comes to you during work write it. But never do it and complete your work normally. A shocking thing you will face that about 85% of this list. After you finish you will not feel like to do, you will lose the desire to do them. This is because it is just ways created by your brain to escape from the real work and responsibilities.
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