Why you waste all your time?

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“Procrastination – A1” by LadyDayDream is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By: Abhi Palikala, Journalist

Procrastination is not something that happens because we’re lazy. Procrastination is the deliberate “putting back” of a task. Laziness can sometimes be seen as a personal choice or a behavior. Procrastination is something that is ingrained in our brains.

Procrastination has its roots in a conflict between two parts of our brain, the Limbic System and Prefrontal Cortex. The Limbic System is one of the oldest parts of the human brain. The age-old “fight-or-flight” reaction is due to this. Since it has been part of our brains for a very long time, it generally dominates decision making, making us do what is better now. The Prefrontal Cortex is newer portion of the brain, and is generally weaker. It is responsible for the more complex parts, such as personality, and long-term planning. Since the Limbic System is stronger, it generally wins, leading to procrastination, giving us what is good now but not good in the long term.

While some give the excuse “oh, I perform better under pressure”, the truth is that they didn’t do their best. Several studies have found procrastinators to have less stress at the beginning of the school year, but ended up with lower grades and higher stress at the end. The “better under pressure” likely comes from, whether they know it or not, finishing whatever work they had impending.

Related links:

Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control) – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination – Association for Psychological Science – APS

The real reasons you procrastinate — and how to stop – The Washington Post

Why we wait: the neuroscience of procrastination – Ness Labs