I just watched a Ted Talk about procrastination by Tim Urban called Inside the mind of a master procrastinator.
This is what I learned:
Brains of people who do not procrastinate have a ‘rational decision-maker’ (RDM). Brains of procrastinators have this too, but they also have an ‘instant gratification monkey’ (IGM).
The RDM says ‘this is a great time to do some work’, which is fine for the non-procrastinator – this is the time that they get stuff done.
But for the procrastinator, the IGM pops up and says ‘no, we have to watch a Ted Talk about procrastination instead!’
Basically, the RDM wants to do things that contribute to the big picture; thinks that might not necessarily be pleasant, but they move life on. But the IGM wants to stay in the ‘dark playground’ – the place where we do things we shouldn’t be doing when we’re supposed to be working. And the IGM is happy so stay in this place, playing merrily as long as there is no deadline in view. This means that a long term procrastinator often feels like a spectator in their own life.
Fortunately for the procrastinator, there is also something called a ‘panic monster’ (PM). The PM is the only thing that the IGM is scared of. The PM appears just before a deadline.