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Why procrastinate even when it hurts?

It's five o'clock in the evening. And you just realized that the report you've been putting off is due tomorrow.

By Luis Fernando Galvis CaicedoPublished about a month ago 3 min read

It's five o'clock in the evening. And you just realized that the report you've been putting off is due tomorrow. It's time to buckle up, open your computer... and check your phone. Can't find your favorite YouTube channel? In fact, you should probably make dinner first. In general, you like to cook, although it's hard to enjoy it when this job is weighing you down, and oh—it's actually quite late! Maybe you should try again in the morning? It's a cycle of procrastination, and I promise you, we've all been through it.

But why do we keep procrastinating even though we know it's bad for us? To be clear, delaying something doesn't always mean procrastinating. Responsible time management requires identifying important tasks and which tasks can be postponed.

Procrastination is when we avoid a task we promised to do, without good reason, even if we expect that our behavior will lead to negative consequences. It's obviously irrational to do something that you think will hurt you.

But ironically, procrastination is a result of our bodies trying to protect us, specifically by avoiding a task we perceive as a threat. When you realize you need to write this report, your brain will react as it would to any impending threat. Your amygdala, a set of neurons involved in processing emotions and identifying threats, releases hormones, including adrenaline, that cause a fear response.

This stress-induced panic can overpower impulses in the prefrontal cortex, which normally helps you think long-term and regulate your emotions.

In the midst of this fight-or-flight-or-freeze response, you decide to respond to the threat by avoiding it in favor of a less stressful task. This reaction may seem extreme: after all, it was just a deadline, not a bear attack. But we are more likely to procrastinate tasks that evoke negative feelings, such as fear, incompetence, and insecurity. Studies related to the delay in university students show that the participants are more likely to repel the tasks they consider tense or stimulating. Awareness increases the difficulty of the task while postponing it.

In an experiment, students received a reminder to study throughout the day. While they studied, most of them reported that it was not very bad. But when they procrastinate, they always consider studying too stressful, which makes it difficult to get started.

Because procrastination is fueled by our negative emotions, some people are more susceptible to it than others. People who have difficulty regulating their emotions and those with low self-esteem are more likely to procrastinate, no matter how well they manage their time. However, there is a common misconception that all procrastinators are lazy.

In the body and brain, laziness is characterized by a lack of energy and general lethargy. When you feel lazy, you are more likely to sit and do nothing, distracting yourself with unimportant tasks. In fact, many people are delayed because they care a lot.

The discounts often indicate a great fear of failure, not encouraging everything because they are afraid of their work It will not follow their high standards. Whatever the reason for the delay, the result is usually the same.

People who frequently procrastinate may suffer from anxiety, depression, and a constant feeling of shame. High levels of stress and physical illnesses associated with high stress. Worse still, although procrastination harms us in the long run, it also temporarily reduces our stress levels, reinforcing them as the body's response to dealing with stressful tasks.

So how can we break the vicious cycle of procrastination? Traditionally, people have assumed that procrastinators need to be disciplined and practice strict time management. But today, many researchers think exactly the opposite. Being hard on yourself can add negative feelings to the task, making the threat more serious.

To shorten the stress response, we must address and reduce these negative feelings. Some simple strategies include the break of a task into smaller factors. Or the journalist why does it emphasize you and answer these potential concerns.

Try to eliminate nearby troubles facilitating the delay. Most of all, it helps foster an attitude of compassion, tolerance, and planning to do better next time. Because a culture that perpetuates this cycle of stress and procrastination will harm us all in the long run.

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    LFGCWritten by Luis Fernando Galvis Caicedo

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