You should know by now that you don’t have to be a student to procrastinate. People of all ages do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re an “adult”, you still have days when you just cannot do that thing you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it because, well, your brain is making it hard to get it done.
It’s not always about being lazy or unmotivated, and according to a BBC report, a study published in Psychological Science revealed the reason we procrastinate is all in our head. Literally. The study looked at two areas of the brain that control our ability to put things off. So, basically, your brain has been working against you and making you put off everything.
DISCLAIMER: we are definitely not endorsing this article or anything about this study as a reason to tell your boss you couldn’t finish that presentation. We’re simply presenting facts here, people.
The study posted in Psychological Science explained that researchers studied 264 people's brains to measure how proactive they are. The big finding was that in people who procrastinated, the amygdala - an almond-shaped structure in the temporal lobe which processes our emotions and controls our motivation - was larger.
"Individuals with a larger amygdala may be more anxious about the negative consequences of an action - they tend to hesitate and put off things," says Erhan Genç, one of the study authors, based at Ruhr University Bochum.
It seems that people who procrastinate have a problem with emotional control. The study provided the physical evidence to support that the emotional centres of procrastinators’ brains can become overwhelmed and therefore not deal well with self-regulation.
So what can you do to try and stop procrastinating as much (or even better not at all)?
The South African College of Applied Psychology recognises that procrastination isn’t good for you and says it can affect your performance and well-being. They also say it has been defined as “the delay between intention and action.”
The article suggests that developing your emotional intelligence is a big factor. When you’re better at handling your emotions, you’re less likely to procrastinate.
The Central University of Technology in The Free State gives tips like recognising that you are procrastinating, changing how you talk about what you have to do and segment the task into manageable chunks.
Psychology Today suggests that we all stop what it calls “catastrophising” aka making a huge deal of something. We tell ourselves how hard this task is going to be and how terrible it all is and how it won’t be worth anything anyway, etc and then we give up. But if we stop that habit, then we can get to the task at hand.
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