JUL 07, 2017 7:33 AM PDT

Don't put off tomorrow what you can do today!


I know I'm not the only one who's ever put off doing something that I don't want to do. We've all experienced procrastination at least to some extent, but do you know why you do it and what can make you stop? Scientists in different fields have unique ways of naming the reasons behind procrastination, from calling it a coping mechanism to a failure of cognitive decision-making. On the neuropsychological level, procrastination is described as a problem with executive function, meaning that you are not effectively planning, prioritizing or carrying out tasks. The key point in this is that you KNOW you have to do something, but you purposely decide to not do it at the moment. That's why Canadian psychology Professor Timothy Pychyl calls procrastination "giving in to feel good".

Some evolutionary biologists are trying to determine if procrastination is at all genetic. In a case study analyzing fraternal and identical twins and the procrastination habits, a team of researchers found that about half the time differences in procrastination habits could be because of differences in genetics. But that begs the question: what about the other half of the time? In these nature vs. nurture situations, some people point toward purposeful procrastination as a strategy for improved work ethic, claiming that they work better under pressure. However medical science warns us that serial procrastination in fact can be harmful to your health, with increased stress generating high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, and even depression in some cases.

So how can you battle procrastination? Some studies with undergraduate psychology students have proven that in the academic setting giving yourself short-term deadlines and manageable chunks of work can encourage you to turn projects or essays in on time. So next time you have a hulking assignment, follow their example and take smaller bites.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
NOV 06, 2020
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) i ...
FEB 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
FEB 20, 2021
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
NASA scientists have confirmed that their car-sized Perseverance Mars rover is 'healthy' following its arrival o ...
MAY 28, 2021
Plants & Animals
Wild Gorillas Adopt Orphaned Babies
MAY 28, 2021
Wild Gorillas Adopt Orphaned Babies
An analysis of over 50 years of data reveals that with the help of their social group, orphaned mountain gorillas do jus ...
JUN 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
JUN 17, 2021
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
Astronauts aboard China’s first manned spacecraft in almost five years have reached the new Tiangong space station ...
JUL 15, 2021
Neuroscience
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
JUL 15, 2021
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
Just like humans, rats tend to help members of their own social group before strangers. The findings may help researcher ...
JUL 23, 2021
Neuroscience
Does the Rise of Neurotech Spell the End of Humanity as We Know it?
JUL 23, 2021
Does the Rise of Neurotech Spell the End of Humanity as We Know it?
Researchers from Imperial College London have written an overview of currently available commercial brain-computer inter ...
Loading Comments...