I am writing this article looking at a huge pile of documents I should get into the right binders. That pile is moving around my office for weeks now. Sorting papers. Definitely not a complex task.
But first here is the merriam-webster.com definition about procrastination: “to be slow or late about doing something that should be done: to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.”
Are we ready to accept that we are lazy or is there something deeper in our brains?
Let’s take a step back and consider one of these moments when you did in fact force yourself to do one of those “ever delayed” tasks. Could have happened because you had to do it or get fired (a bit extreme maybe) or because you were going on vacation and had to finalize that task. Or for any other reason…mine mostly is about stopping to shuffle that papers around to find more room and finally organize all that crap.
How does it feel when the task is over? Think about it? Great! It feels damn good!
Your brain just rewarded you with a nice shot of happiness because you have an immediate proof of accomplishment!
So, the question is: should we keep procrastinating or should we go for the reward each time? When you procrastinate your brain is ok with that because there isn’t an immediate reward perspective. It is a long term game! And to make that decision, to work on that task, means you have a 7 seconds time frame! This is the time frame in which your decision maker lives inside your brain.
No immediate gain? No decision!
What should you do? The trick is to find an immediate reward! Try to remember that time you had the same problem and did complete the task. Remember that pleasure? That reward? Now try to see the task and the same pleasure and link these in your brain.
Ready? Go for it! Procrastination is dead…well nearly.[:]