Your Brain on Procrastination
Last week we talked about beating procrastination. This week, let’s find out what actually happens inside the brain when we procrastinate. This stuff happens at a cellular level, and the better we understand how our brain works, the more WE can control it, rather than IT controlling us.
When we procrastinate, we are thinking of a task that is usually hard, dreaded, boring or threatening to our confidence in some way. It is not pleasant! So, when that awful thought happens, our amygdala interprets that thought as overwhelming – a threat!
When the amygdala senses a threat, it does two key things in 1/32 of a second:
1. It starts sending out signals that floods our system with adrenalin to prepare us to fight the threat or run quickly away to safety.
2. It shuts down the logic part of our brain because that part takes a much longer 3 seconds to engage.
In 1/32 of a second we become fearful and we can’t think! THAT is what procrastination really is. That is why staying calm and using the tools we reviewed last week really work!
So, when we:
Write down a plan
Move past the plan to actually start the task
Break the task into small tasks
Allow for a margin of error
Set a timer for small units of time
Stick to the timer
Stop for breaks
Stop striving for perfection
Reward ourselves and
Use an accountability partner,
We feel more in control and our amygdala does NOT go off. We can stay calm and logical – VERY productive!
So, next time you find yourself procrastinating, STOP! Pause for 3 seconds, and start using these tools to remain calm and productive.
You will quickly become an EX- procrastinator!